California (6-0) at Wisconsin (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 2, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Kohl Center (17,230) -- Madison, Wisconsin. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Cal 2-0, UW 3-1. Away Record: Cal 1-0, UW 0-1. Neutral Record: Cal 3-0, UW 1-1. Conference Record: Cal 0-0, UW 0-0. Series Record: California leads, 5-2.
GAME NOTES: The California Golden Bears put their perfect record on the line as they visit the Wisconsin Badgers for a non-conference tilt at the Kohl Center on Sunday.
The Golden Bears took home the title from the DirecTV Classic Tournament in Anaheim on Nov. 25 by completing a 78-58 rout of Pacific in the championship game. California is one of the most impressive teams in the Pac-12 in the early season as it has defeated five of its first six opponents by a double- digit margin this season. California looks to start the season 7-0 for the first time in more than five decades. The last time Cal opened the season with at least seven-straight regular-season victories was in 1959 when it was coached by Pete Newell. Coach Mike Montgomery's team is producing 74.7 ppg and limiting its opposition to 62.2 ppg on 38.6 percent shooting from the field.
The Bears face a tough test in this one however, as coach Bo Ryan enters with a overall record of 114-30 in non-conference games, including a mark of 85-7 at the Kohl Center. This season, the Badgers are off to a 4-3 start, but their losses have come to formidable opposition in Florida, Creighton, and Virginia. Wisconsin was dominant in its first three wins, outscoring SE Louisiana, Cornell, and Presbyterian by an average of 39.3 ppg. Its last win was a seven- point decision over Arkansas on the road before it returned home to be defeated by the Cavaliers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
These two teams have not met on the hardwood since 1986. California owns a 5-2 all-time series lead after seven bouts.
The majority of Cal's offensive production comes from its backcourt, which is one of the most dynamic in the nation. The junior guard duo of Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs are leading the Pac-12 in scoring after a tremendous start to the season. Crabbe is first in the conference with 22 ppg and Cobbs is a close second with 20 ppg. Cobbs earned took Most Outstanding Player honors with 58 total points in the three games in the DirecTV Classic. He was honored as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday as well. Although no other players is scoring in double-figures, Richard Solomon (8.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Ricky Kreklow (6.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and David Kravish (5.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg) are delivering on the glass and defensive end to help the cause.
Wisconsin has a more balanced attack with four players scoring in double- figures on a regular basis. Junior guard Ben Brust has been impressive early on this season. Despite being only 6-1, Brust is leading the Big Ten in rebounding with 7.9 rpg, which he is accompanying with 12.3 ppg. Big man Jared Berggren is pacing the team with 14.7 ppg and leads the conference with 15 blocks. Senior forward Ryan Evans is also a force on the inside with 10.1 ppg and 6.9 rpg. Ryan also has a promising newcomer in freshman forward Sam Dekker. The rookie scored a career-high 19 points in the team's most recent win and has knocked down 11-of-22 from 3-point range so far.
This game will really put the Golden Bears' perfect record in jeopardy. The Badgers are very well coached and know how to frustrate their opposition. California's two-man game is going to be hard to ride all season long, as it will most likely someone else to step up to rise high in the national rankings. However, Crabbe and Cobbs have not been stopped yet, so the pressure is on Ryan's team to try to figure out their Achilles' heel.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 72, Wisconsin 67
12/02 10:37:02 ET