After a gritty victory over Stanford in Maples Pavilion, the Arizona Wildcats (12-4, 3-0) head up the East Bay to take on the California Golden Bears. Cal enters the game with a brutal 5-10 and is bringing up the rear in the Pac-12 standings.
We talked to Joshua Morgan of our sister site California Golden Blogs to get a feeling about Cal’s basketball program before Saturday’s game.
Here’s our Q&A:
Cal currently has the worst overall record in the Pac-12. Is Wyking Jones’ rebuild heading in the right direction?
To be honest, I don’t think so. We are young — we literally have one junior that gets consistent playing time and the rest are underclassmen (no seniors on roster) — and he also has done a decent job with recruiting, as I completely believe that the underclassmen that he has recruited have some serious talent. We just haven’t seen results on the court. Wyking has also done some things that we really don’t like, such as cutting scholarship players (even ones that he recruited) simply because he didn’t think they were good enough. That stuff doesn’t bode very well with the fans. We are hoping to get a new coach soon, because it would be a shame to waste our talented young roster.
Who’s the player to watch on the floor for Cal?
Paris Austin, our junior transfer from Boise State, has to be our best player. Guys like Justice Sueing and Andre Kelly are great, and Darius McNeill could get red-hot from deep, but the whole offense functions around Austin. He is our primary scorer and primary ball handler/creator, and slowing him down hurts our whole offense.
What are the Golden Bears’ biggest strength? What about their biggest weakness?
Honestly, does Cal have a strength? This team lacks in size, rebounding ability, defensive fundamentals, offensive creativity. The weaknesses will go on and on and wrap around our whole game. Our shooting isn’t awful though, and we have done a pretty good job in terms of protecting the ball on offense.
What scares you about hosting Arizona, if anything?
I’m not really scared of much, mostly because bad things happen whenever we go to Tucson. Plus we know we are going to lose, so there is that.
What’s your score prediction for the game?
I’ll say 86-68. Arizona by at least 10.