Cal Preview

The 22nd ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (13-2, 3-0) will embark on only their second road game of the season as they head to the Bay Area to face the California Golden Bears (11-4, 2-2) on Thursday. The Sun Devils are ranked for the first time since the end of the 1995 season and are riding a nine-game winning streak.

Cal is coming off a split in Oregon, with a 69-59 victory over Oregon State. Like the Sun Devils, Cal is a very young team, filled with freshman and sophomores that are key contributors to the team. The Bears are a very athletic group lead by sophomore Ryan Anderson, who is not only leading the team in points, but also in rebounds. They also pose a physical challenge having two starters over 6-10.

Head Coach Ben Braun (12th season)

Projected Starters

PG – Jerome Randle (12.2 PPG, 3.4 APG)
G – Nikola Knezevic (4.2 PPG, 3 APG)
G – Patrick Christopher (16.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG)
F – Ryan Anderson (20.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG)
C – DeVon Hardin (9.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG)

Impact Reserves

F – Jamal Boykin
F – Harper Kamp
F - Eric Vierneisel

Overview

Last season the Bears and Sun Devils played each other well, with each game going down to the wire. The Bears were able to pull off an overtime victory in Tempe, while the Sun Devils stunned the Golden Bears on senior night when Derek Glasser hit a game winning three pointer.

Cal is off to a hot start from the field averaging 79.1 PPG, which is second in the Pac 10. However, they have had a difficult time keeping teams from scoring, giving up 69.1 PPG. While the Bears play an up-tempo style, the Sun Devils have done a good job slowing down the game and holding opponents to just 56.7 PPG. The Sun Devils will need to continue and play the same level of defense they have shown over the last three games because they do not want to get in a high scoring game with this Cal squad.

Guards

Jerome Randle has done a great job scoring and getting assists. However, he is also having a difficult time hanging onto the ball. With nearly an assist to turnover ratio of 1:1, Derek Glasser is going to need to have active hands on the top of the zone. If he is able to cause turnovers, it will take away Randle's scoring ability and help slow down the game to the ASU's pace.

Ty Abbott seems to have found his stroke again and needs to continue to shoot well if the Sun Devils guards are going to match the production of Randle and Christopher. Christopher has been a lethal scorer, making 47% of his shots.

Edge – Cal

Forwards

With out a doubt, Cal has an obvious height advantage at this position with Ryan Anderson at 6-10. He is by far the most talented player in the Cal roster and is deadly from anywhere on the court. He is not afraid to use his big frame to post up, but he also steps out to take a shot beyond the arc at any time. The zone defense will need to remain active and mindful of not leaving Anderson one-on-one with Shipp in the block. Now that Duke transfer Jamal Boykin is eligible, he has begun to come off the bench and has been productive.

With the play of James Harden lately, not many players in the country can slow him down. He is playing beyond what anyone expected and has proved why he was a McDonald's All-American. Jerren Shipp has struggled scoring in league play, but has done an incredible job against bigger competition on defense.

Slight Edge – ASU

Center

DeVon Hardin is tall, lengthy and athletic. He has developed into a solid player on both ends of the court in his four years in Berkley. However, ASU's Jeff Pendergraph has been playing with as much passion as anyone in the country. With the way Pendergraph has elevated his game in recent weeks, he will be a load for the Cal defenders.

Slight Edge – ASU

Final Score – Arizona State 62 Cal 60

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