Pac-12 Game Of The Week: California @ Oregon State

Posted by Connor Pelton on January 5th, 2012

We may only be two games into the conference season, but tonight will give us a good feel on who is a contender and who is a pretender in the Pac-12. The game that most fits that bill will take place tonight in Corvallis when 2-0 California meets 0-2 Oregon State. For the visiting Golden Bears, a loss won’t make or break their chances at a conference crown, but it could be listed as a bad loss on a tournament résumé that is sure to be on the bubble come March. On the other side is Oregon State, where a victory is crucial after being swept in Washington last week. For the Beavers to have any shot at an at-large into the NCAA Tournament, a 3-1 record over their next four games is a must. So of course, they could lose tonight and win their next three, but that is highly unlikely as Stanford and Arizona are on the horizon. Despite this being one of the best games of the week and boasting multiple talented players on each side, the game will not be televised or webcast. That means the winner may get a little national attention just from being on ESPN’s bottom line, but the loser would likely fall from the nation’s radar for a LONG time.

Junior guard Jared Cunningham leads Oregon State with 17 PPG (credit: Sports Chat Place)

For the Beavers to get a win tonight they will need to rely on their defense. They have played three teams this season that are at Cal’s level offensively, and so far they are 1-2. The one win came against Texas, a game in which the Beavers were able to get out on multiple fast breaks after stepping into the Longhorn passing lanes. The Beavers would score a total of 100 points in a game where they actually didn’t shoot the ball that well, but they got the win because of their great defense. That is what they need to do here if they want to have a chance.

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Pac-12 Game Of The Week: California @ UNLV

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 23rd, 2011

It’s not often you get a game of this magnitude on the day before Christmas Eve, but there is definitely one this afternoon in Vegas. California came into the season as one of the favorites in the Pac-12, and they lived up to those expectations in their first four games. However, things would turn sour when they faced Missouri in a virtual home game for the Tigers. Missouri blitzed the Golden Bears from the tip and would eventually win by 39, meaning Cal would drop from national relevance for the next few weeks. They have responded well since the devastating loss, with their only other slip-up coming in a one-point heartbreaker at San Diego State. Now they come to a crossroads in a pre-Christmas game just off the Vegas Strip. A win would mean an 11-2 record going into Pac-12 play, and most importantly, getting back onto the national radar. But a loss will just reaffirm the thoughts that most people around the country have about the Golden Bears; as a one-and-done type team that just can’t win the big game.

Senior guard/forward Chace Stanback leads #23 UNLV with 14.5 PPG. (credit: Sam Morris)

If the Golden Bears are to win this one they will need to contain UNLV big men Chace Stanback and Mike Moser. Stanback is the leader of this team, both on the court and in most statistical categories. The thing about Stanback is, he just finds a way to get it done in big games. Chace had 28 points against #1 North Carolina, 19 against UC Santa Barbara, and 16 against #16 Wisconsin. Cal Forward Harper Kamp will get the honor of keeping him in check.

Perhaps even tougher to defend will be Moser. The scary thing about Mike is that when Stanback is having an off-night, he always turns it up a notch. Moser is averaging 13.6 PPG, but take a look at his performances when Stanbeck scores in single digits: 14 points, eight rebounds against Cal Poly, six points, 11 rebounds against UTEP, and 17 points, 11 rebounds against #19 Illinois. With Cal’s arguably best defender taking Stanback, look for seldom-used freshman David Kravish to see an increase from his usual 20-25 minutes. If both Kamp and Kravish hold the Rebels two main offensive sources to single digits, the Golden Bears have a great shot of getting the win. While this is a deep, talented team, the Rebels have relied on the Stanback-Moser combo a little too much, and that’s going to hurt them sooner or later. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pac-12 Game Of The Week: Virginia At Oregon

Posted by Connor Pelton on December 17th, 2011

Arizona did meet Gonzaga earlier today in the Battle in Seattle, but the biggest game of the week takes place tomorrow at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon came into the season with high expectations for their backcourt, led by highly touted freshmen Bruce Barron and Jabari Brown. However, those two left the program in late-November, leaving Garrett Sim and Johnathan Loyd to pick up the minutes and production. They have done a solid job (13 and 6.8 PPG, respectively), but the biggest boost has come from Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph. Joseph had to sit for Oregon’s first six games since he transferred mid-way through last season, but in his previous two appearances he’s averaged 15.5 PPG. Joseph has combo-guard ability and can be the difference between a top six finish in the Pac-12. At small forward it has been all about E.J. Singler.  The junior is averaging 13 PPG and quite possibly has the purest stroke on the team, both behind the arc and at the charity stripe.

Senior forward Mike Scott will draw the majority of the attention from Oregon's defense. Scott is averaging 15.3 PPG and 9.1 RPG. (credit: The Sabre)

Virginia will bring their slow-down, methodical offense into Eugene. Mike Scott leads the Hoos in points, while sophomore guard Joe Harris is also producing great numbers. But those were the guys that were SUPPOSED to produce. One of the main reasons that Virginia is off to such a great start is because of Assane Sene and Jontel Evans. Sene, the 7’0” senior center, has got the job done on the boards by averaging 4 RPG. Evans’ best game came in their December 6th meeting with George Mason, where Jontel logged 36 minutes, 11 points, and three assists. Read the rest of this entry »

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