(10) Oregon (18-3) at California (12-8)
Saturday, February 2, 4:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (11,877) -- Berkeley, California. Television: ROOT, FSN. Home Record: Oregon 14-0, Cal 6-4. Away Record: Oregon 4-2, Cal 3-4. Neutral Record: Oregon 0-1, Cal 3-0. Conference Record: Oregon 7-1, Cal 4-4. Series Record: California leads, 80-55.
GAME NOTES: Having recently secured his 100th win in Berkeley, Mike Montgomery leads his California Golden Bears into battle against the 10th-ranked Oregon Ducks on Saturday afternoon at Haas Pavilion.
The visiting Ducks are having a banner year, logging an 18-3 overall record and their 7-1 league ledger has them in sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 Conference standings. Despite their impressive run, Oregon is coming off its first Pac-12 loss, as it was demolished at Stanford on Thursday night, 76-52.
California comes in sporting a 12-8 overall record, and the team's 4-4 conference mark has it in the middle of the Pac-12 pack. The Golden Bears are coming off a 71-68 win over Oregon State, improving their home mark to 6-4 and as mentioned, earning coach Montgomery the 100th win in his tenure at the school. He is just two wins shy of becoming the fourth-winningest coach in conference history.
Cal owns an 80-55 lead in the all-time series with Oregon, and the Golden Bears have won the last nine meetings. The Ducks' last win in the series was a 92-70 triumph in Berkeley on Feb. 9, 2008.
Oregon is one of the highest scoring teams in the Pac-12 this season, netting 75.0 ppg to rank second behind UCLA's 76.8 ppg. The Ducks are shooting 45.9 percent from the field, and they own a +8.2 rebounding margin, while forcing an average of 16.3 turnovers per outing. That opportunistic approach coupled with a field goal percentage against of only .408 results in the team allowing 63.6 ppg. There are five players averaging double figures in the scoring column for Oregon, led by Damyean Dotson and his 11.5 ppg. The other four net between 10.2 and 11.0 ppg, demonstrating the kind of balance needed to assure a team of a successful campaign. Despite hitting their shots at a 45.9 percent clip, no one player has really set himself up as a long-range sniper, E.J. Singler logging a team-high 28 3-pointers in 21 games. No starter scored more than seven points in the recent loss to Stanford, as Carlos Emory was the only one to hit for double digits, logging 12 points in 26 minutes off the bench. The Ducks were successful on only 34.6 percent of their field goal attempts, and they missed 75 percent of their 3-point tries. Meanwhile, the Cardinal shot 51.9 percent from the floor and took full advantage of 20 Oregon turnovers.
Despite being fortunate to have the Pac-12's leading scorer, Allen Crabbe (19.8 ppg), wearing its uniform, California ranks in the bottom half of the league's scoring chart, netting 68.6 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of 44.5 percent overall, .316 from beyond the arc, and .708 from the free throw line. The team's defensive effort yields an average of 65.8 ppg, and foes are knocking down just 40.3 percent of their total shots. Crabbe is also among the team-leaders on the glass with 5.6 rpg, David Kravish actually sitting atop that list with his 7.0 rpg, helping Cal to a +3.0 rebounding differential on the season. Justin Cobbs (14.7 ppg, 4.3 apg) is the club's only other double- digit scorer, and he was one of four Golden Bears to net more than 10 points in the recent win over Oregon State, tallying 14 in hitting a game-high four 3-pointers. Crabbe was high man for the team with his 15 points, but he went just 5-of-16 from the floor, missing eight of his 11 long-range attempts in the process. Cal made good on 49.2 percent of its total shots, but attempted only two free throws. The Golden Bears won the game thanks to 27 points from the beyond the arc, compared to only 12 for the Beavers.
Anytime Crabbe is on the floor, particularly at home, Cal has a shot. That said, the Ducks are sure to be a feisty bunch following the blowout loss at Stanford. Expect them to prevail as they snap a lengthy losing streak in this series, and keep their spot atop the Pac-12 mountain, at least for another day.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 71, California 65
02/02 11:13:53 ET