CALIFORNIA 72 MARSHALL 70Yuck.
Early season basketball is usually ugly, but Cal's performance against a below-average Marshall team can't solely be blamed on rust. Tonight's performance won't cut it against 7 of Cal's 9 Pac 10 opponents (or Hawai'i tomorrow night).
- What happened to our defensive intensity and fundamentals? We brought neither to Alaska. Cal's guards allowed dribble penetration all night, even in zone. Wilkes hasn't improved his D in the offseason. Jerome Randle, for all his energy, is overmatched as a man defender. Playing zone made sense against a poor shooting team, but it was shocking that Cal couldn't handle Marshall when it did switch to man.
- DeVon Hardin didn't show up tonight. He bit on every pump fake, and showed nothing on the offensive end. He made an OK big man look like an all-conference choice.
- Our offensive flow was poor all night. Too many quick jumpers. Bad spacing allowed their big guy to look much more impressive than he was, and prevented any meaningful interior passing.
- Ubaka had a typical Ubaka game - the great offensive run that kept us in the game in the 2nd half was vintage Ayinde. However, he didn't distribute the ball well when running the point, and he committed some awful turnovers early in the 2nd half.
- Our inbounds execution is embarrassing, and that falls to Ben. He also needed to put a man on the inbounds passer at the end of the game. I also didn't get why Anderson sat 10 minutes after picking up his 2nd foul.
- Thank God we shot fouls well. I'll give Ben a cookie on that one - we've really improved from where we were in 04-05.
- But the story of the game was Jerome Randle, the sparkplug whose four-point play turned things in our favor late in the game. His energy is terrific, even if he makes bad decisions (the pull-up 3 on the break, and his 1 on 4 layup attempt after a great steal). More important, he allows Ayinde to slide to the two, which is his natural position.
Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving to all TH readers!