UC Santa Barbara (4-5) at California (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 18, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (11,877) -- Berkeley, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: UCSB 3-1, California 2-2. Away Record: UCSB 1-4, California 1-1. Neutral Record: UCSB 0-0, California 3-1. Conference Record: UCSB 0-0, California 0-0. Series Record: California leads, 9-0.
GAMES NOTES: After losing their third straight game, the California Golden Bears will try to right the ship on Tuesday night when they host the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in a Golden State showdown at Haas Pavilion.
Its not as if things have been going particularly well for UC Santa Barbara either. The Gauchos have lost three of their last five games with one of those victories coming against NAIA foe San Diego Christian. The Gauchos are sitting at a mediocre 4-5 this season which includes a dismal 1-4 mark against teams on the road. The Gauchos will have to improve in away games quickly as their next two games also come on the road beginning against Wyoming on Friday.
The Golden Bears fell 74-64 to Creighton at home in its last time out and have now lost three straight decisions. Those three losses came against some serious competition with the other setbacks on the road against Wisconsin and against another nationally ranked team in UNLV. Other than the recent losses California has been just fine with a 6-3 overall record. However two of the losses came on the Golden Bears' home floor where they are 2-2. This is the third game of a five-game homestand for California that continues against Prairie View A&M on Saturday.
This isn't much of a rivalry considering that California has won all nine of the previous meetings between these squads. That includes a 70-50 rout at Haas Pavilion last season.
In the win over San Diego Christian, the Gauchos let it rain from beyond the arc as they hit 13-of-32 shots from beyond the arc. UC Santa Barbara shot at a 48.3 percent clip overall and had 10 more field goals than San Diego Christian which hit on only 37.3 percent of its field goal attempts. UC Santa Barbara also outscored San Diego Christian by an 18-6 margin in second chance points and had a 44-28 edge on the boards. Alan Williams scored 24 points and brought in 12 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the campaign.
In the offensively prolific Big West conference, UC Santa Barbara has been near the middle of the pack. The Gauchos are scoring a respectable 67.6 points per game while connecting on 42.7 percent of their shots from the floor. However those marks each rank seventh in the league. On the other end the Gauchos are lit up for 71.1 points per game on 43.7 percent shooting. Thanks in large part to Williams (17.2 ppg, 9.4 rpg) the Gauchos hold a slight edge on the boards (+1.4). Williams has been outstanding this season. He is the fifth leading scorer in the Big West and the conference second-most productive rebounder. Taran Brown (13.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is another strong scorer and rebounder but after those two no other player is bringing in more than 4.1 rebounds a contest. Scoring options beyond Williams and Brown are also limited with Kyle Boswell (11.7 ppg) the only other player scoring more than six points per game.
California just didn't have enough offense to pull off an upset over Creighton. The Golden Bears made just 34.6 percent of their field goal attempts and were just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc. In fact, the Bluejays had more points from 3-point range (15) in the second half than California did in the entire game. A 16-7 deficit in points from the free throw line didn't help. California did have the edge in rebounds (53-38) however. Justin Cobbs led the way with 18 points, while David Kravish and Tyrone Wallace each totaled double digit rebounds.
The Golden Bears are also near the middle of their own conference in offensive production ranking seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring (71.4 ppg) and eighth in field goal percentage (.460). When California is on the defensive end the Golden Bears are allowing 67.1 point per game while limiting teams to just 40.6 percent shooting. CAlifornia is the third best rebounding team in the PAc-12 (39.9 pg). That mark is also one of the 40 best nationally. There is really no secret to who the Golden Bears rely on the most. Allen Crabbe (21.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Justin Cobbs (17.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.0 apg) are one of the best backcourt tandems in the country. Each has the ability to erupt on offense while filling the stat sheet across the board on a nightly basis. Crabbe has scored more than 20 points in six games this season and shoots well from anywhere on the floor. Cobbs takes fewer shots from beyond the arc and is the better ball handler and distributor. There isn't much scoring depth beyond those two with Richard Solomon (8.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) the only other player scoring more than seven points per game.
While identifying that Cobbs and Crabbe are the most vital pieces for California, stopping the pair is an entirely different matter. California has banged heads with some tough competition of late and will use that experience to run past the Gauchos in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 79, UC Santa Barbara 63
12/18 10:32:58 ET