Cal Men's Basketball Preview: Bears host #3 Arizona Wildcats in return to Haas Pavilion
Can the Bears use an upset as a restart point?
Date: Sunday January 23rd, 2022 (12PM Pac-12 Networks)
Opponent: Arizona Wildcats
Record: 15-1 (Conference: 5-0)
Standings: 1st in Pac-12
KenPom Ranking: #3
Opponent Team Stats: 88.3PPG/43.1RPG/21.8APG/7.8SPG/13.8TPG
Expected Starting 5
Guard Kerr Kriisa
Guard Pelle Larsson
Forward Bennedict Mathurin
Forward Azuolas Tubelis
Forward Christian Koloko
One week off after a rescheduling, opened up an entire week for the Bears. Now comes #3 Arizona. The hottest team in the country. A top 15 offense by most metrics. A top 5 defense by most metrics. That added with the unknown of how the Washington State Covid situation will have any effect on the Cal roster, it bodes to be a tough game for the slumping Bears. The Bears’ strength was scoring inside the arc but has struggled there of late. The Wildcats on the other hand have the #1 2PT defense in the nation only allowing 39.4%. They actually have the #2 effective FG% defense in the country. It’s going to be tough for the Bears to get good looks for an already struggling offense. Defensively, it doesn’t look to be any easier for the Bears, but the matchup is better. The Bears statistically cover the Wildcats offense in terms of 2PT% and 3PT% defensively. The issue arises when the efficiency and possession lengths come into play. Arizona has the fastest offense in the country with their average possession being 14.4 seconds. The Bears on the other hand want offensives to play late into the shot clock, forcing them to have an average possession of 17.2%. The Bears are going to have to play their best defensive game and flip their offensive output. Even then it looks to be a tough game to pull off the upset.
And if you missed there Bears’ last game against Washington State make sure to check out the recap.
Cal’s Win Probability and Score according to KenPom: 13% (63-75 Loss)