The Big Boards

Posted by: Avinash on Sunday, January 27th, 2008

calbballPeople have asked me why I don’t follow Cal basketball with the same depth that I cover college football. As frustrating as Cal football was this year during our plunge, it’s more likely to be an anomaly than a trend with Tedford at the helm. Compare that to the madness of Cal basketball, where stupidity and perplexity abound. Considering that the biggest star we’ve produced in the Ben Braun era is more known for his blog says all you need to know about how Cal has squandered its talent.

Not really ready to deal with the nonsense, I maintained a minimal diet of Cal basketball when they started undefeated–the out of conference schedule is usually a joke, and size is usually more important than speed or passing. When facing smaller schools with smaller-sized teams, it figures that our team would roll over with a dominant frontcourt.

Once we reached Pac-10 play, you could see the problem was the same–pretty good frontcourts, abetted by inconsistent backcourt play. I caught glimpses of the UCLA and Arizona games, and there are just too many annoying kinks. We average plenty of assists, but mostly on kickins to the post. There’s just not enough ball movement to spread the defense late in games, and the defense crowds and that’s that. In addition to that, you’d see the frontcourt not getting the ball often, the backcourt taking awful 18 foot jumpers, the perimeter defense ok, but plenty of points being scored inside and out (Cal is near the bottom in scoring defense up to this point). It doesn’t help when Ben Braun decides not to address these problems–instead of fixing the point guard problem this summer, he goes out and finds a 7 foot Chinese project.

However, that isn’t to give enough credit to a Braun-coached team–they can find other bizarre and absurd ways to lose. My comments on the Cal-Stanford game went someting like this.

“Grab a board.”

“Arrggh. JUMP!”

Rebound damnit. Please.”

“JUMP OFF THE GROUND. Please fight gravity. Please.”

You know how Jeff Van Gundy goes bezerk when an NBA team grabs an offensive board off a missed free throw? Sending him a tape of the second half of Cal-Stanford would have turned him into Hitler in Downfall.

[youtube jJHb9m4ccmQ]

For a team that’s supposed to live off its frontcourt, they sure disappeared for most of the second half. Much of the Cal-Stanford game was post-up, rebound, foul, missed free throw, rebound, rinse, repeat, as the Lopez twins barrelled all over Christopher, Anderson, and Hardin. NO team should allow 21 offensive rebounds in college basketball. Certainly not one that prides itself on defense.

There are other annoying stats. Despite Braun’s insistence on great defense, the Bears are 179th in blocking and a whopping 324th of 328th in steals in Division I, and the scoring defense is a lovely 239th. For a team that preaches defense, Cal sure is having trouble defending their paint and forcing turnovers. These glaring deficiencies could lead to the end of Braun’s time here, although considering that things like these have been going on for years, I’m inclined to think change won’t be forthcoming.

Now next to last in conference, Cal will probably see its dim NCAA tournament hopes fade to black after the trip to the Evergreen State. And then we can move past another disheartening year of Cal basketball falling short.

Topics: Cal Basketball

Related Articles
    None Found

Comments are closed.