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Cal Basketball

Utah Preview: It Will Be Tougher for Bears This Time

February 10, 2021
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Cal’s mens basketball team hasn’t had many good days this season, but one of the best was the 72-63 win at Utah on Jan. 16. The Bears were playing without leading scorer Matt Bradley and still managed to knock of the Utes.

But when the teams meet in a rematch Thursday at 3 p.m. at Haas Pavilion the Bears will find a more formidable opponent.. The Utes (8-7, 5-6 Pac-12) have been on something of a roll since that day, winning three of the four games. The Bears (7-14, 2-12) haven’t won since, losing six straight.

Following the Utah game the Bears host Colorado (15-5, 9-4)  Saturday nigh. But first Cal must deal with the rejuvenated Utes.

“Definitely,” Utah center Branden Carlson said to the Utah media this week when asked if Utah has improved. “I think we are on the rise up, because I think our team is a lot better than our record shows. We are a better team, we have better chemistry than what we have seen. We are better at just what we do. From here on out, we are going to be showing what we really can do as a team.”

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Branden Carlson goes up for a shot

Even coach Larry Krystowiak is bullish on his up and down squad.. “We have enough data right now to validate the fact that we can play some pretty good basketball,” Krystkowiak said. “And there is also enough data to show when we are not (playing well). You keep building off the experience that you have throughout the course of a year. That’s all you can do.”

The Utes are led by junior forward Timmy Allen,(I above) who is hitting 44.8 percent from the floor and averages 16.9 points per game. He has picked up the pace over the past five weeks, averaging 19.1 points, 7 rebounds and 4.3 assists

“Timmy is playing great,” sophomore forward Mikael Jantunen told the Salt  City media. “He has expanded his skill set; he can do everything on the court. He is playing really, really well and I am pretty sure this isn’t the best he will play, and he is going to get better and better.”

He certainly isn’t alone. The 7-0 Carlson is a force in the middle, while Jantunen hits a conference-best 64.6 percent of his field-goal tries, most of them from close range. Rylan Jones plays tenacious defense and probably will draw the assignment on Bradley.

Despite coming off the bench, one-time starter Alfonso Plummer averages 13.5 points per game.  Krystkowiak likes to insert him when the Utah offense flattens out and he can provide a spark. Against Colorado Jan. 30 he scored 23 points in the second half and was conference Player of the Week,

Utah Notes

  • The overall series is dead even at 17-17, with Cal having won the last two. The Utes are just 4-9 in Berkeley.
  • The Utes are third in the conference in scoring defense, 66.6 points per game.
  • Utah hits 76.1 percent of its free throws, the second-best mark in the Pac-12.
  • The Utes have made only 97 3-pointers, 6.47 per game, 11th in the conference ahead of only Stanford.

Colorado Notes

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McKinley Wright IV
  • The Buffaloes ran roughshod over the Bears in Boulder, 89-60 last month.
  • They have won four of their last five and eight of the last 10
  • If senior forward McKinley Wright IV isn’t the best player in the Pac-12 he is close to it. He is the Pac-12’s active leader in career points (1,660) and assists (614) and is second in rebounds (589). Averaging 14.5 points per game this year, he is one of 10 finalists for the 2021 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. He is the only Pac-12 candidate. He broke the school career assist record in the first game against Cal and has just kept adding to it,.
  • Junior Evan Battey is averaging 10.9 points on 51.4 percent from the field while ranking second on the team in rebounding at 5.0 per game.
  • The Buffaloes lead the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (83.0) and turnovers  (11.0 topg). Colorado ranks second in scoring defense (63.9 ppg), scoring margin (+12.0), 3-point shooting (37.9 percent), 3-pointers made (8.0 3mpg), rebound defense (31.1 rpg), turnover margin (+3.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). It is third in scoring (75.9 ppg) and field goal percentage (46.4) and fourth in shooting defense (42.4), assists (14.7 apg) and rebound margin (+3.7).
  • The Buffaloes, who have made at least 10 free throws in 19 of 20 games, have 14 contests where they’ve missed three or fewer and seven with just one or two misses.
  • Graduate transfer Jeriah Horne leads the team in rebounding at 5.3 per game while ranking second in scoring at 11.3 per game and third in steals (14). He leads the team in 3-pointers with 34 and has the top 3-point percentage among those Buffs attempting at least two per game (44.7).
  • Freshman guard Keeshawn Barthelemy, whose playing time average just 14 minutes per game, is second on the team in assists with 34 against only 13 turnovers. 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion from...

Utah Preview: It Will Be Tougher for Bears This Time

1,312 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 17 days ago by NathanAllen
calumnus
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We won last time, have Bradley this time and we are at home. Is this the "who is the better game day coach" test again? It will be interesting to see what lineups and strategies both coaches deploy.
helltopay1
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There are some 'must win" games. This is one of them...
BeachedBear
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calumnus said:

We won last time, have Bradley this time and we are at home. Is this the "who is the better game day coach" test again? It will be interesting to see what lineups and strategies both coaches deploy.
That certainly was fun to watch last time, but remember that Cal played probably their best half (second half) of the season against Utah. I don't watch every Utah game, but Utah played some of their worst basketball at the same time. While I hope we can capture that double magic again - I don't think it is likely.

But until we're down by 20 in the second half - there's still HOPE!

Go Bears!
NathanAllen
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Staff
BeachedBear said:

calumnus said:

We won last time, have Bradley this time and we are at home. Is this the "who is the better game day coach" test again? It will be interesting to see what lineups and strategies both coaches deploy.
That certainly was fun to watch last time, but remember that Cal played probably their best half (second half) of the season against Utah. I don't watch every Utah game, but Utah played some of their worst basketball at the same time. While I hope we can capture that double magic again - I don't think it is likely.

But until we're down by 20 in the second half - there's still HOPE!

Go Bears!
This isn't to take away from Cal's win or second half, which I agree was probably the best of the season so far, but there were at least a handful of Utah turnovers where they simply dribbled it off their own feet or passed it to phantom teammates. It was a bit like watching the Washington Generals.

This is a game Cal needs to win if they want to stop competing with UW for the basement of the conference. That said, I wouldn't count on Timmy Allen having seven turnovers again like he did when the teams met in SLC.
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