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Cal Basketball

Cal Meets Stanford In Pac-12 Tournament First-Round

March 10, 2020
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Cal will meet Stanford in a rubber match of the 2019-2020 hoops season on Wednesday in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. The Cardinal (20-11, 9-9) beat Cal (13-18, 7-11) at Stanford, 68-52 when the teams first met on January 2nd. Cal evened the series after a 52-50 win in Berkeley on January 26th. And now the teams meet on a neutral court as the 10-seed (Cal) and seven-seed (Stanford) on the opening day in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Since last meeting in January, both teams have been on a somewhat similar path. Stanford has gone 5-7 while Cal has gone 4-8. Immediately after meeting on January 26th, both split a home series with the Oregon schools. Then both lost four straight against Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State. The one difference in the win-loss column was Stanford swept the Washington schools on the road while Cal lost to UW. Both ended the season losing on the road to the Oregon schools.

As of right now, Stanford has a lot more at stake in Wednesday’s game. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has the Cardinal as one of the last teams in the NCAA Tournament and projected as an 11-seed in one of the play-in games. An opening-round loss to Cal would pretty much seal Stanford’s fate to the NIT, which would be a pretty big let-down after starting the season 15-2 and 4-0 in the league.

On the other hand, taking out a rival in the first round of the conference tournament while ending their NCAA Tournament hopes might be motivation enough to light a spark underneath the Bears. 

When Cal has the Ball

Stat Cal Stanford
Adj. Eff. 101.6 (193) 90.3 (7)
Avg. Poss. Length 19.3 (333) 17.5 (173)
Eff. FG% 46.8% (300) 45.5% (20)
TO% 19.2% (204) 22.5% (26)
Off. Reb. % 25.4% (261) 28.2% (178)
FTA/FGA 35.8 (92) 31.5 (165)
3P% 33.5% (148) 28.7% (20)
2P% 45.2% (325) 45.9% (51)
FT% 73.5% (90) 69.3% (103)
Block% 9.6% (252) 10.8% (78)
Steal% 7.4% (27) 10.0% (104)
Non-Stl TO% 11.8% (320) 12.5% (7)

Stanford continues to have an elite defense. Opponents are shooting very poorly against the Cardinal, especially from three. The other thing Stanford does really well on defense? Create turnovers. Specifically, non-steal turnovers. Considering shooting and non-steal turnovers have been two of Cal’s biggest offensive weaknesses — especially on the road — this has the makings to be a frustrating experience for Cal’s offense. 

In both matchups this season, Cal only managed 52 points against the Cardinal. The difference was, obviously, the Bears stifled Stanford’s defense during the second meeting in Berkeley, thanks to turnovers and a cold shooting night from three-point range for Stanford. The Cardinal shot 54.8% from inside the arc compared to Cal’s 34.9%. But Stanford turned it over 15 times to Cal’s seven and made just two three-point shots on 12 attempts (16.7%).

Considering the way Cal’s offense has played away from Haas Pavilion this season, the Bears’ best hope in ruining Stanford’s NCAA Tournament hopes is to turn this game into a rock fight.

When Stanford has the Ball

Stat Stanford Cal
Adj. Eff. 105.6 (122) 101.5 (156)
Avg. Poss. Length 17.6 (189) 17.6 (194)
Eff. FG% 54.0% (22) 50.3% (221)
TO% 20.9% (302) 17.3% (268)
Off. Reb. % 22.6% (322) 26.9% (134)
FTA/FGA 30.9 (222) 37.1 (282)
3P% 37.2% (23) 36.2% (309)
2P% 53.0% (38) 47.7% (104)
FT% 70.4% (196) 73.8% (316)
Block% 11.5% (333) 7.5% (238)
Steal% 9.3% (203) 6.1% (349)
Non-Stl TO% 11.6% (315) 11.3% (52)

Stanford’s offense is fascinating from a statistical perspective. The Cardinal shoots the ball really well (54.0% eFG, 20th in the country). But it turns the ball over at a high rate (20.9% TO%, 302nd in the country) and grabs offensive rebounds at a very low rate (22.6% Off. Reb. %, 322nd in the country). So, if Stanford gets off a shot, more times than not it’ll go in. But the Cardinal has a high percentage of turning it over before getting the shot off or if the shot doesn’t go in, has a low likelihood of grabbing the offensive board.

The result is a slightly above-average offense. In the nine Pac-12 games Stanford has lost, it’s averaged 64.67 points per game. In the nine games it’s won, it’s averaged 72.22 points per game. Stanford has only let a Pac-12 opponent score more than 70 points in four games and each one was a loss.

Forward Oscar de Silva continues to lead the Cardinal in scoring with 16.1 points per game. He’s shooting 62.3% from inside the arc, which is 82nd of all Division 1 players in the country. Freshman guard Tyrell Terry is the only other Stanford player averaging in double digits at 14.9 points per game. Terry is one of three Stanford players shooting above 40% from three.

Keys to the Game

Guard the perimeter. Both Oregon and Oregon State shot very well from behind the arc against the Bears. Oregon is the second-best three-point shooting team in the country, but Cal still gave up 71% to the Ducks from three. Stanford has the ability to light it up from long range. In the first game between the teams, Stanford shot 39% from long-range and beat Cal by 17. In the second game, it shot 16% and Cal won by two. To give itself a chance to win this game, Cal needs limit Stanford’s three-point shots while knocking down some of their own.

Turnovers. This was a huge difference in the Berkeley game. Stanford has been turning teams over at a high rate but also turns it over itself at a high rate. Cal needs to value the basketball while forcing Stanford into some miscues.

Create a rock fight. Cal needs to ugly up this game as it did during the game in Berkeley. This is likely to be a game in which the first team that scores 60 is going to win. And if that’s the case, it’s also likely Cal’s best shot at winning.

KenPom says … 69-59, Stanford win-chance 82%

Discussion from...

Cal Meets Stanford In Pac-12 Tournament First-Round

1,333 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 2 mo ago by BeachedBear
Bobodeluxe
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The Ivy League just cancelled their tournament.

Cowards.
Cal88
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Odds are the NCAA tourney will be cancelled as well. They will at least close off attendance early on, then reassess even that in late March.

Spring football is also in the balance. You'll probably see UW and Furd moving first on suspending it later this month then it will cascade on to the rest of the conference.
BeachedBear
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Cal88 said:

Odds are the NCAA tourney will be cancelled as well. They will at least close off attendance early on, then reassess even that in late March.

Spring football is also in the balance. You'll probably see UW and Furd moving first on suspending it later this month then it will cascade on to the rest of the conference.
I can see them cancelling or limiting attendance. But I doubt they cancel the games and TV. However, if things get bad enough the odds may shift in your favor.
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