It has been a gloomy basketball season up in Berkeley. Bears fan have lost their passion for Cal hoops. Even the most restrained Cal alums such as Tightwad-Hill (who I happen to think has put together one of the most prolific and enjoyable college sports blogs) is calling for the removal of head coach Ben Braun. Tightwad also had this poignant observation concerning Braun’s situation in Berkeley and comparing it to our football situation down here in Westwood:
Dorrell's a different case, I think, because UCLA football history is a heck of a lot better than Cal hoops history. His mediocrity is harder to accept given the tradition in Westwood.
Anyways it would be utterly foolish for Bruin players and fans to look past the Bears. I am sure Coach Howland and his staff will do everything they can to prepare our guys for this game. But for our sake we need to remind ourselves Bruins are taking on decent Cal squad, which may still have some fire left within themselves to put on a great performance and pull out a season saving win. BBR has the report on how Cal riding the back of Ryan Anderson (who would have been my choice for Pac-10’s FOY) demolished the Beavers last night:
Cal's All Pac-10 freshman Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 27 points, including six three-pointers, and hauled down 15 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. Guards Ayinde Ubaka and Omar Wilkes each chipped in 10 points for the win.
The Bears are playing without center standout DeVon Hardin who suffered a foot injury earlier in the season.
UCLA beat California in both meetings this season. In January, Arron Afflalo scored 25 points in a 62-46 win in Berkeley. The Bruins then defeated the Bears at Pauley Pavilion in February when Lorenzo Mata made 8 of 9 free-throws to spark his team to a 85-75 victory.
Anderson has found his grove so it will be imperative for our front court combination of Luc, Mata, and AA2 to bring their "A" game this afternoon. On the other side I still think AA’s defense on Ubaka will be key. I think it’s Ubaka who is the main catalyst for Cal’s offense and if AA can do the same job he did on him during the last two outings, Bruins are going to be all right. As Dohn noted on his blog it is going to be all about focus this afternoon at Staples. If the Bruins have that focus and can play that 40 mins of Ben Ball defense, we are going to be all right.
I can’t wait for this. We have been going through this week with the Washington game on our mind. Getting the job done and pulling out a win this game will enable us to move on and get back the momentum we kind of lost in Seattle.