Photo by Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Cal Basketball

The BearInsider Scout: Cal vs Stanford

January 1, 2020
2,143

Welcome to 2020 and welcome to the Pac-12 Hoops season, Cal fans. The Bears kick-off this year’s conference slate with a quick trip to Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto to take on rival Stanford. 

Cal fans don’t like to hear it, but the Cardinal has looked very much improved compared to last year’s team which went 15-16 and finished the season with a 79-72 loss in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament to UCLA. (Let’s also not forget last season’s season finale when Cal went into Maples and beat Furd on its way to a three-game win streak that almost bought Wyking Jones another year in Berkeley.)

In his fourth season at Stanford, Jared Haase might be rounding the corner. So far this year, the Cardinal is 11-2 with a semi-neutral court win over Oklahoma in Kansas City and a very close loss to Butler that, frankly, Stanford let slip away. Stanford’s second loss was at home against Kansas in the non-conference season finale. It should be noted, Stanford has had one the weakest schedules this year and has only played four teams in the top-100, going 2-2 in those games.

Stanford’s success this year has come from an elite defense (ranked 21st in KenPom’s adjusted defensive ratings). Haase has been more of a defensive coach during his time at Stanford, but so far, this is his best defensive unit so far. The Cardinal is doing well in the main defensive components. They’re top-25 in the country in turning teams over, top-50 in eFG%, top-50 in the FTA to FGA ratio, top-50 in steal percentage, and top-50 in non-steal turnover percentage. They don’t rank lower than 80th in any defensive statistical category on KenPom.

Offense is a bit of a different story for the Cardinal. No doubt, Stanford is deft at knocking down shots (more on that later), but they’re highly turnover prone and not good at pulling down offensive boards (ranking 296th in each category). When Stanford doesn’t turn it over, however, it is an elite shooting team, ranking 14th in eFG% and 18th in three-point shooting percentage. Cal has been very solid at three-point shooting percentages this year (30th in the country), but Stanford has been better. What’s more, Stanford has been hoisting up more threes than Cal and has a 34.1 3FGA to FGA ratio compared to Cal’s 26.8 rate. 

The Cardinal also has something Cal has struggled defending this season: a skilled and experienced frontcourt player. Junior center Oscar da Silva has looked very much improved so far this season and leads the team in points and rebounds per game at 17.7 and 5.8. While the majority of Silva’s points have been generated in the paint, the big guy also has hit six-of-16 from three.

Besides Silva, Stanford has been relying on two freshmen for much of its scoring. Four-star freshman combo guard Tyrell Terry has had little issue adjusting to the college game so far and is averaging 15.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game, albeit also with 2.5 turnovers per game. Terry is also shooting 37.9% from deep on 58 attempts. Fellow freshman Spencer Jones has also been better than expected so far this year for the Cardinals. The stretch-four from Kansas leads the Cardinal in three-point percentage (46.2%) and attempts (78).

When Cal Has The Ball

Cal’s Offense versus Stanford’s Defense

Stat Cal Stanford
Adj. Eff. 99.3 (198) 89.2 (21)
Avg. Poss. Length 18.8 (310) 16.5 (46)
Eff. FG% 50.0% (148) 45.0% (48)
TO% 19.7% (191) 24.0% (23)
Off. Reb. % 24.9% (265) 24.8% (60)
FTA/FGA 37.9% (59) 24.5% (44)
3P% 37.8% (30) 30.1% (59)
2P% 47.6% (236) 44.9% (69)
FT% 72.2% (108) 59.2% (3)
Block% 8.9% (179) 11.2% (80)
Steal% 6.1% (6) 11.6% (42)
Non-Stl TO% 13.7% (342) 12.4% (38)

Cal could struggle to generate points. There’s no way around it. Besides Colorado, which is 18th in KenPom’s adjusted defense, Cal isn't projected to face a tougher defense than Stanford’s. When the shot hasn’t been falling, Cal has relied on a more aggressive, attacking defense to get to the foul line. The issue with that is Stanford is ranked 44th in defensive FTA to FGA ratio and are third in the country in defensive FT%. For whatever reason, teams are shooting just 59.2% from the free-throw line against the Cardinal. Cal’s best bet might be to get Andre Kelly going inside and hope both him and Thiemann don’t get into early foul trouble trying to contain Silva, Jones, and the rest of Stanford’s frontcourt.

When Stanford Has The Ball

Stanford’s Offense versus Cal’s Defense

Stat Stanford Cal
Adj. Eff. 101.8 (141) 101.5 (189)
Avg. Poss. Length 17.7 (226) 17.8 (274)
Eff. FG% 55.4% (14) 48.5% (156)
TO% 21.9% (296) 17.6% (280)
Off. Reb. % 23.6% (296) 28.8% (195)
FTA/FGA 34.6% (114) 34.6% (234)
3P% 38.7% (18) 36.5% (297)
2P% 54.0% (51) 44.8% (65)
FT% 69.7% (180) 75.3% (330)
Block% 8.9% (177) 7.8% (209)
Steal% 8.9% (162) 6.0% (346)
Non-Stl TO% 13.0% (327) 11.6% (84)

Cal’s best chance of winning this game is doing what it did last year and making it a very ugly and slow game. Stanford shoots the ball very well — especially from three — but are also very likely to turn the ball over. Mark Fox really needs to ramp up the defense, pressure Stanford, and make the Cardinal uncomfortable in its offensive sets. It’s obviously easier said than done, but if Cal tries to get in a quicker-paced shooting contest with the Cardinal, it’s likely to get buried. If Stanford scores 70 or more, Cal’s chances of winning go down drastically. If they can keep the Cardinal below 70, they might be able to keep it close.

Keys to the Game

Contain Silva

I admittedly haven’t watched much Stanford tape, but having an inside scoring threat like Silva likely impacts the Cardinal three-point shooting in a positive way. If you double Silva, you’re leaving Jones or Terry or Daejon Davis or Isaac White open — all of which are shooting at least 38% from three. What’s more, Cal’s rotations and perimeter defense have been sketchy at times and largely mediocre. The Bears need to show some improvement over the Harvard game when Chris Lewis literally scored at will going 7-of-7 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line on his way to a 19 point performance.

Get Matt Bradley going

Bradley had one of his least — if not the least — efficient games of the season against Harvard. The Bears need to not only get Bradley open looks but also need him to knock down his open looks. Many of the shots Bradley missed on Sunday against Harvard were good looks. They just weren’t falling. The Bears could obviously also use contributions from Kareem South, Grant Anticevich, or Andre Kelly, but Bradley is the leading scorer for a reason this season. No doubt Stanford will be keying in on Bradley but hopefully, he knocks down a few early shots to get his confidence back up.

Slow the game and ugly it up

Despite Stanford’s efficient shooting, the Cardinal doesn’t score a lot. As of now, Stanford is averaging 72.3 points per game but only giving up 58.8 per game. When Cal won in Palo Alto last year, the score was 64-59. That’s what Cal should be looking for this year. This was stated above, but unless the three-point shot really travels and revives itself, Cal is going to struggle to get to 70 points against the Cardinal. To give itself a chance, Cal needs to keep this game around 65 possessions and keep Stanford at less than 70 points.

KenPom projects … 71-57, Stanford (89% Stanford win chance)

Discussion from...

The BearInsider Scout: Cal vs Stanford

1,949 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by SFCityBear
calgo430
How long do you want to ignore this user?
does not look good. we lack fire power.
HoopDreams
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Stanford has a strong defense

That's not a good fact for our team, but keep it close, get their guns in foul trouble and we got a shot
bearister
How long do you want to ignore this user?
" Stanford shoots the ball very well especially from three but are also very likely to turn the ball over. Mark Fox really needs to ramp up the defense, pressure Stanford, and make the Cardinal uncomfortable in its offensive sets."

IMHO, we have lost a few games because of soft defense. If we pull that stunt at Maples, the point spread will have expired before half time.
Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the House of Detention
I got some friends inside
SFCityBear
How long do you want to ignore this user?
bearister said:

" Stanford shoots the ball very well especially from three but are also very likely to turn the ball over. Mark Fox really needs to ramp up the defense, pressure Stanford, and make the Cardinal uncomfortable in its offensive sets."

IMHO, we have lost a few games because of soft defense. If we pull that stunt at Maples, the point spread will have expired before half time.
I agree. I haven't seen them play, but it is Stanford and it is Jerod Haase, so I think Stanford is beatable. They have a good record so far, but they have only played one ranked team. Cal has played two. Stanford's best win might have been against USF, and they had a good game in losing to unranked Baylor. They are a good defensive team statistically. When they are on offense I am more concerned about us stopping their guards. We don't play our best at Maples as a rule. Still it is doable, and we should at least keep the game under the spread, even if we do lose. And Fox won't likely be experimenting any more. We need to get serious now.
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.