Wednesday, November 15, 2006

HEY, WE'RE PLAYING A BASKETBALL GAME

Tonight Cal finally plays a basketball game that counts, against the Utah Valley State College Wolverines at Haas Pavillion. Which raises a good question - exactly who are these guys?

They hail from Orem, Utah, which according to CNN is the 38th best place to live in the US. In related news, these best places to live surveys are complete nonsense.

They've only been playing at the D-1 level since 2003-4 . Prior to that UVSC was a true community college, and participated at the NJCAA level.

They no longer have Ronnie Price. Price, the best player in school history, finished 3rd in the country in scoring in 2004-5 and is now a second-year guard for the Sacramento Kings.

They have a coach you might recognize. Dick Hunsaker was Rick Majerus' top assistant at Utah, and took over the program when Majerus was sidelined by health issues. Prior to that, he led Ball State to the Sweet 16 in 1990. He left Ball State after the school reported multiple violations of NCAA rules, including the payment of unauthorized benefits to players.

They're small. UVSC's tallest starter is 6'8". DeVon Hardin, the dinner bell's ringing. Time to eat.

They shoot the 3 - reserve SG Ryan Toolson went 5-6 from beyond the arc in the Wolverines' 74-57 upset of Montana, a tourney team last year.

Their name is just awful. You want to add more words: Utah Valley State College...Penitentiary...Women's Prison....Solid Waste Facility.

They were the subject of a pretty good documentary...named This Divided State. The indie film chronicles the controversy surrounding the 2004 visit of filmmaker Michael Moore to the UVSC campus, and ensuing efforts by local LDSers to lynch him.

They are one of the fastest growing colleges in America. The 8th fastest, according to some, with more than 24,000 students.

Prediction: Cal 78 UVSC 60. UVSC has blown out a couple of Big Sky teams (Montana St., Montana) en route to a 4-0 start. However, they lack the athleticism to compete with Cal. Their height disadvantage should enable Hardin to feast inside, and Ubaka should have his way on the perimeter and on penetration. It will be interesting to see how Ben shuffles the lineup in the first game since Jordan Wilkes' season-ending knee injury. Bottom line - if we don't beat this team by 10+ points, we may want to re-think even our modest expectations for the 2006-7 campaign.

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