Utah (11-15) at California (18-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (11,877) -- Berkeley, California.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Utah 9-7, California 9-4. Away Record: Utah
2-8, California 6-5. Neutral Record: Utah 0-0, California 3-0. Conference
Record: Utah 3-11, California 10-5. Series Record: California leads, 11-8.
GAME NOTES: The hottest team in the Pac-12 continues its unexpected run at the
conference crown, as the California Golden Bears play host to the Utah Utes in
league play at Haas Pavilion on Thursday.
Mike Montgomery and the Golden Bears have certainly faced some adversity of
late, but the team has seemed to galvanize and come out stronger as a result,
entering this game with a five-game win streak in tow. Over that span of games
has been wins over conference-leaders Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. The Bears were
last in action at Oregon State last weekend, escaping Corvallis with a 60-59
victory and moving to 10-5 in conference play.
Larry Krystkowiak's Utes come in at the opposite end of the conference
spectrum. Utah is currently four games under .500 overall (11-15), but buried
in the conference standings in 10th place at a meager 3-11. The Utes have lost
back-to-back games, including last week's 60-50 road loss at Colorado.
California won a defensive struggle against Utah in Salt Lake City on Jan. 24,
62-57. With the win, the Golden Bears now hold an 11-8 all-time mark against
The Utes are a consistently strong defensive squad and come into this game
leading the Pac-12 in both scoring defense (62.2 ppg) and field-goal
percentage defense (.390). The team doesn't put up a lot of points at the
other end (64.2 ppg), although Utah does lead the conference in both 3-point
accuracy (.362) and free-throw percentage (.751). Utah is powered by a trio of
scorers, led by Jarred Dubois' 11.8 ppg. Jordan Loveridge and Jason Washburn
are right behind with 11.7 ppg each. After that, the scoring pool dries up,
with no other player posting more than 6.0 ppg.
Utah shot just .388 from the floor in the 10-point loss at Colorado last time
out. Loveridge led the way in defeat with 12 points. Washburn and Brandon
Taylor finished with 10 points apiece, but DuBois struggled, hitting just 2-
of-9 from the floor and posting six points.
Cal knows a thing or two about defense as well, ranking second in the
conference in scoring defense (63.9 ppg) and third in blocked shots (4.8 bpg).
Offensively, the numbers seem modest with the Golden Bears averaging 67.7 ppg
on .447 shooting, but the numbers are deceiving, as California benefits from
the Pac-12's most explosive scorer in Allen Crabbe. The 6-foot-6 junior is a
matchup problem in the backcourt and leads the conference in scoring at 19.0
ppg. Fellow guard Justin Cobbs is a potent scorer as well, pouring in 14.9
ppg, while pacing the team in assists (4.6 apg). Richard Solomon (8.6 ppg, 6.7
rpg) and David Kravish (8.0 ppg, 6.9 rpg) provide limited scoring, but are a
solid one-two punch on the boards.
The Golden Bears were up by as many as 14 points in Corvallis, but had to hold
on for a one-point win over the Beavers last time out. Cobbs led the way
offensively with a game-high 18 points. Tyrone Wallace added 11 points to the
cause, helping make up for a rare poor performance by Crabbe, who finished
with just six points by going an ugly 2-of-12 from the field.
The Golden Bears are on a huge roll and Utah isn't. California should be able
to keep the pressure on to the very end, and may just earn the conference
crown if all breaks right.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 71, Utah 58
02/28 10:38:24 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.