Thursday, February 22, 2007

PREVIEW AND PREDICTION - CALIFORNIA AT UCLA

So we're playing with house money tonight. Here's the TH preview of the game no one expects Cal to win:

As Nestor and several commenters pointed out, I forgot that Afflalo matched up on Ubaka for almost all of the first meeting between the teams. My bad - I tried to wipe the memory from my mind. But the point remains - the super-quick Collison's one issue as a defender is his size disadvantage with bigger guards. Whether he's guarding Ubaka or Wilkes, Cal has a height advantage and should try to establish that guard in the post on occasion, if for no other reason than to force double teams and create some open space for cutters.

Why not? It's not like we have a lot of good options. UCLA is extraordinarily difficult to screen on the perimeter, so opponents are often reduced to passing the ball around at twenty feet, hoping for a good look from three. Teams rarely get that good look, because UCLA gets out on shooters as well as anybody. I just don't see Cal's flex offense doing much against a superior opponent without the addition of some wrinkles. The Bears need to give UCLA something - anything - to worry about in the paint to create space for shooters on the perimeter. In the first game, Cal didn't do that, and the Bears scored 46 points. Ubaka's awful game had a lot to do with that, but do you remember a lot of good perimeter looks for the Bears? I don't.

(BTW, the Bruins Nation folks can be a prickly lot. Read the comments over there - they suggest that we regurgitate material from the hated Chronicle, which to our loyal readers should be high comedy. And associating the SF rags with our basketball content is an interesting line of attack, considering that I wouldn't think BN readers would want to be tied to the LA Times' stellar, unbiased football coverage.

Nestor's a very good guy, though, and has lots of passion for his school.)

Back to the game:

* Cal takes care of the basketball as well as any team this side of Pullman, which is one thing to feel good about tonight. UCLA is 2nd in the conference in turnover margin (at +3.12/game - WSU leads)
* Shipp will likely guard Christopher, which is an upgrade from the last two opponents. How will PC respond to a tougher match-up? Don't think we can expect 24/11 tonight...
* In the first game, Collison didn't have a good offensive game, but Afflalo more than made up for it and torched Cal in the second half. The Bears should expect a better performance from DC tonight - he's the reigning Pac-10 POW, having averaged 17 ppg and 9.0 apg in the sweep of the Arizona schools.
* Cal has beaten the Bruins at Pauley the last two seasons, and Howland has been playing that up with his team this week. I expect to see a pretty motivated bunch of Bruins.
* UCLA creamed Cal on the glass in the first matchup. The box score says the Bruins had 11 offensive rebounds, and I think they converted every one. BBR suggests that Cal might zone more than usual in an effort to slow the game down, but we know how Cal struggles to rebound out of the zone. I'm not sure I agree.

Prediction? The Bears will keep it fairly close and wilt in the second half. It's a depressingly familiar outcome for our short-handed Bears, but I can't see any other result against an inspired Bruins team that is playing pretty well.

UCLA 73 California 60

8 Comments:

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous SoCal Oski said...

the Bruins Nation folks can be a prickly lot

This should be an entry into the "Understatement of the Year" category, closely followed by:

Nestor [...] has lots of passion for his school

Passion is great. Everyone has passion for their school. But tempering that passion with at least a modicum of objectivity is the trick. You manage to pull it off quite well, as do many other college bloggers. The folks at BN, however, eat their own at the slightest provocation.

That, if for no other reason, is why I really hope Ben's Bears can pull off the miracle tonight.

Go Bears!

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i completely agree socal oski...not being even remotely objective only makes you look stupid. a smart fan is one who can still root for their team and recognize it's shortcomings, of which Cal has many, we admit it. TH does that as well as anyone....BN posters (not Nestor) need to spend a few days reading TH to get a feel for it, it ain't no Ratto re-tread.

GO BEARS!

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger Nestor16 said...

Guys. We have the world of respect for Tightwad Hill. There is a reason why we link him so much. Because we enjoy what he writes.

As for commenters on BN, there was only one of our readers who asserted that Tightwad was channeling a Bay Area rag. And I pointed out to him clearly what I thought of TDub. None of the other readers focused on TDub's posts. They were just commenting on the MSM coverage in Bay Area in general.

Again we are nothing but respectful of the content coming out of Tightwad Hill. Keep up the great work. GO BRUINS.

 
At 12:30 PM, Blogger Tightwad said...

We return the respect 1,000-fold, Nestor. Yours is one of our favorite reads in all of college sports 'cause you're thorough and you have a definite POV.

I know it was only one comment, but we understandably bristle when anyone suggests we're in league with our local rag. Sorry if you thought it an over-reaction.

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger Nestor16 said...

No apologies necessary here TDub. I understad your reaction. A mentioned in our blog here is to a great game and no injuries tonight.GO BRUINS.

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger The Fez Monkey said...

I'm one of many people with loyalties to both Cal and UCLA (Cal BS '87, UCLA PhD '93), though I am more Bear than Bruin.

I'm also a former reader and poster to BN. As such, I really do wish this Nestor would have been more active over there, rather than the Nestor who, actively or tacitly, encourages a sort of ganging-up mentality far too present on BN.

Both Tightwad and SoCal Oski brought up passion, and I doubt very much there is any blog out there whose members show as much passion as BN. But too many of the regulars over there sometimes behave like vigilantes. There are numerous examples of them ganging up on other Bruins who expresses an opinion that differs from the "party line" and they can be overtly hostile to a non-Bruin daring to venture into their midst. I've seen it far too often, and to the extent the BN version of Nestor is involved, it's too often as a way to stir the pot and join the fray. Sad to say, I now rarely visit BN because there only seems to be room for a select few. There are too many instances of people who have dared give a compliment to a non UCLA team; inject some objectivity into a ludicrous argument; or had the nerve to say something positive about Karl Dorrell being flamed without any consideration of respect.

Again, passion and support of your school is what being a fan is all about, however, there has to be some respect for others. The difference between, say, Tightwad Hill and BN is how Tightwad (and others) is able to allow differing opinions and views - and even "outsiders" - without devolving into rancor and name-calling. Sadly, that isn't the case at BN, as respect can sometimes be a rare commodity. Maybe if this Nestor, who seems reasonable and level-headed, was to take a more active role over there, things will change.

Just my two cents.

Go Bears.

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger Displaced Trojan said...

Very well put, Fez Monkey.

 
At 6:43 AM, Anonymous pathrecords said...

Well, I do not actually imagine it may work.

 

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