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Cal Notes: Dangerous Bears

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Bruins smoked the Bears last time the two schools met up in Berkeley. However, our coaches, players and fans would be foolish to look past a Bear team which is coming into Pauley feeling pretty good about themselves. Yeah, sure, the Bears swept the horrible Oregon schools last week. But still they got the job done, gained some confidence in process, and now will be coming into LA with nothing to lose.  So the Bruins better watch out.  Hopefully, they will not sputter around on Thursday night like they did against Arizona State, which features a game which, on paper, may stand out the less glamorous match up of this week's Pac-10 set against the Bay Area teams.

As mentioned above, the last time the Bruins took on Braun's Bears, they demolished them. And they got the job done with the help of AA shutting down Ayden Ubaka, the pg who is the catalyst of Bear's offensive attack. Here is Tightwad on how Ubaka is going to be key to Bears' attack at Pauley:

As for the offensive side of things, Ubaka is the key. Sick with the flu, he played the worst game of his Cal career against UCLA at Haas; a healthy and inspired AU could do some interesting things with the smaller Collison in the post. As much as we like Alex Pribble's hustle on defense, Ben should consider limiting his minutes Thursday night. The Bears can't afford to play four-on-five with a UCLA team that makes its living grinding out wins in the sixties.
I have a feeling we may not see AU taking on DC around the post. IIRC it was AA guarding AU most of the time last game. And I wouldn't be surprised if Coach Howland stays with that defensive match-up, giving AA the key assignment in throttling the Bear offense. Sportsline has couple of roster notes which include an update on Ubaka:
--Senior PG Ayinde Ubaka shot just 2 for 9 and scored six points against the Ducks, but grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds. Against Oregon State, Ubaka had 21 points, including 3 for 4 from 3-point range.

--Freshman F-C Ryan Anderson scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half vs. Oregon. He also had five rebounds. He battled foul trouble against Oregon State, finishing with a season-low six points before fouling out with 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation.

--Sophomore Theo Robertson scored a season-high 21 points against Oregon State.
Anderson is currently the favorite to win the Pac-10 FOY awards. AA2 and Mata (who as noted by JD at BHS, had a great game against Arizona) did a pretty good job of containing the Bears big guy in the middle, as they combined for 10 points and 16 boards (7 offensive) to off-set Anderson's 13 point and 6 boards. Hopefully, they will be able to contain Anderson the same way they did in Berkeley.

The other guys to keep an eye on here are Ryan Anderson and Patrick Christopher. The guy to watch out for perhaps the most is freshman swingman Patrick Christopher. PC dropped 16 on Oregon last Thursday, and followed that up with a monster 24 pt/12 reb. performance against Oregon State. More from Tightwad on how the freshman has flipped the proverbial switch despite struggling with a groin injury:
And then the switch flipped, about the same time as Chris started to struggle with a groin injury. The player who sparked Cal's upset of Oregon was confident on both ends of the court; against Oregon State on Saturday, he was as good as any Cal player this year. It's not just the numbers - 24 and 11 - but the way his decision-making has improved. Because of this sudden emergence, Cal can win games like Saturday's, in which Anderson and Ubaka can't find their shots.
I know. I know it was against the Oregon schools. But still, you gotta give the credit to the kid for fighting through an injury. Shipp is going to get the assignment to guard Patrick and I'd think Shipp better come into this game alert and focused, and bring the same intensity he did against Zona on both offense and defense. If he doesn't, life may get a little more interesting than Bruins would prefer against the Bears this Thursday night at Pauley.

Another factor to keep in mind. While Ubaka may have been playing with flu, keep in mind that Luc played in that game after coming off a sprained knee. He had 4 points, but he grabbed 11 rebounds, 3 of which happened to be of the offensive variety. Hopefully Luc, Mata, and AA2 can maintain the Bruins edge in rebounding margin. It turned out to be a huge factor in the last game.

This is going to be a dangerous game. We just can't afford to look past these guys. Otherwise, we will end up in a tough battle like we found ourselves against ASU. I will post more thoughts on this game later.