Cal Men's Basketball Preview: Bears travels to Palo Alto in rescheduled rivalry matchup
Will the Bears finally get back into the W column?
Date: Tuesday February 1st, 2022 (7PM Pac-12 Networks)
Opponent: Stanford Cardinal
Record: 12-7 (Conference: 5-4)
Standings: 7th in Pac-12
KenPom Ranking: #89
Opponent Team Stats: 67.9PPG/37.7RPG/13.4APG/6.0SPG/2.5BPG
Power Forward (6-foot-8/230lbs)
Small Forward (6-foot-9/215lbs)
Expected Starting 5:
Guard Michael O’Connell
Forward Spencer Jones
Forward Jaiden Delaire
Forward Harrison Ingram
Center James Keefe
The postponed rivalry game in Palo Alto is finally here in a 3-game game week for the struggling Bears. Stanford is coming off a split in Southern California while completing the season sweep of SC. The Cardinal aren’t a great team by any stretch, but they do generally keep games close and have won a fair share of them. 7 of the 9 conference games were decided by 6 points or less. The other two games were blowout losses to Arizona and UCLA, the top 2 teams in the conference. Statistically, they are a very confusing team to try and analyze. Offensively they sit outside the top 120 in most of the statistical categories, but adjusted efficiency has them sitting at 117 on KenPom. Defensively, most stats sit outside the top 90 and the top 200, and YET, their adjusted efficiency on KenPom has them sitting at 63rd in the country. So which Stanford team will we get on Tuesday? Probably one that plays us close and forces our struggling offense to be EVEN more efficient than the efficient-intending-grind-out offense Mark Fox has the Bears playing. That’s not even considering the loss of Andre Kelly after he left the game against SC and did not return to the court.
Make sure to check out the recap from the Bears’ last game against USC.
Cal’s Win Probability and Score according to KenPom: 29% (62-68 Loss)
Kelly obviously matters but this Stanford team is just not very good especially on offense. Despite beating USC twice, I’ve watched them in person twice and both times they’ve looked awful. They played at Santa Clara and were down by as much as 28 at one point in a beatdown. Then they played Dartmouth at home and were down as many as 13 and only got bailed out because Dartmouth couldn’t press break blowing a 7 point lead in the final minute to go to OT and lose. Stanford doesn’t have a ton of perimeter scoring especially if the defensive assignment and rotations are good. Like anyone else if they are open they’ll make them but with good defense they are meh. It’s Harrison Ingram, Jaden Delaire or bust for them.
with Kelly I think we can win. without Kelly I think it is very doubtful
we have zero depth in the post, and Lars is a role player depending on match ups
we would therefore have to play Grant almost the entire game, and go small most of the game. yet Grant would be in danger of foul trouble, so wouldn't be able to be aggressive on defense, and even if he was, he won't be able to match up well
2K will have to take some of the load in the post, and we going small means Sam will get major minutes too
Need Foreman to repeat last game's contribution
Basically I don't see a win without Kelly unless everyone steps up, limits turnovers, maybe get some stanford players in foul trouble somehow, etc