Monday, November 21, 2011

California 70, Georgia 46

[recap] [box score]

I'm afraid I don't have much to say about Georgia, other than that they hung with Cal for most of the first half. But the Golden Bears got the last 14 points of the first 20 minutes, and extended the run to 29-4 to put the game away. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the first McDonald's All-America to play at Georgia in like two decades, has a good-looking three-point shot. Gets off the floor quick, nice release. That's all I've got.

I've got plenty on Cal, though, and I'm really looking forward to seeing them tangle with Missouri Tuesday night.

The Bears have the size and depth up front to give the Tigers problems. Harper Kamp and Richard Solomon started at the 4 and 5 against the Bulldogs. Kamp is more physical and the better post scorer; the rangy Solomon tends to hang out near the top of the key. Cal went to Kamp in the post on two of its first four possessions, and I expect the same thing against Missouri to take advantage of the fact that the man checking Kamp will likely be 6'6" Kim English. Mike Montgomery can also bring in freshman David Kravish and not lose too much, if Monday night's game is any indication.

Defensively, Solomon is the bigger factor. He's just a sophomore and is not a prolific shotblocker, but at a very long-looking 6'10", he can get off the floor quickly. When Missouri's guards get into the lane, they'll need to pay attention to where Solomon is. All the Cal bigs challenge shots at the rim, though.

On the Cal-Georgia telecast, Bobby Knight made the point that Cal's bigs (all three of them, actually) defended the high screen poorly by sticking too long with the ballhandler, leaving the screener open on kind of a delayed roll. If they don't fix that, they can expect to see a lot of high screens from Missouri.

If the circumstances call for it, and they probably will, Cal can also go small, though their "small" is still bigger than Missouri. Jorge Gutierrez, a Pac 12 Player of the Year candidate, is one of the country's best defenders and will probably draw Marcus Denmon as his defensive assignment. Allen Crabbe starts at small forward, and Brandon Smith got the call at point guard tonight. But Justin Cobbs played more or less as well as Smith, and so Montgomery could play them alongside each other to counteract some of Missouri's perimeter quickness.

Offensively, Crabbe and Gutierrez are the main perimeter threats. Crabbe has a good-looking three-point stroke, but against Georgia, Cal didn't really run too much stuff for him. They ran a lot of screens for Gutierrez, who hit a bunch of 17-foot jumpers. I'd like to see them run some more stuff for Crabbe.

Should be a good one.

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