Cal Preview

Coming off one of the most impressive wins in the Herb Sendek era, a 30 point pasting of Stanford in Palo Alto, Arizona State will look to improve on their best start in 33 years. The Sun Devils will cross the Bay Bridge to take on Mike Montgomery and the California Golden Bears (12-2, 1-0).

After taking Stanford to new heights, Montgomery went to the NBA with the Golden State Warriors but is now back in the Pac-10 and quickly turning Cal into a contender.

Cal has won all ten games they have played at Haas Pavilion this year and the Sun Devils have won both of their road games thus far. In the Pac-10 opener, ASU was in control the whole game and beat Stanford 90-60.

With Jeff Pendergraph scoring a career-high 31 and James Harden contributing 17 points and 10 assists, Arizona State won at Stanford for the first time since late 2004. For the Bears, the opener was just as sweet – a resounding 69-55 win over the Arizona Wildcats. Patrick Christopher went off for 23 points and Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson had 14 and 13 respectively.

Head Coach – Mike Montgomery

Projected Starters

G – Jerome Randle – (19.3 PPG, 4.8 APG)
G – Patrick Christopher – (14.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG)
G – Theo Robertson – (12.1 PPG, 61% 3PT)
F – Jamal Boykin – (9.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG)
C – Jordan Wilkes – (4.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG)

Impact Reserves

G – Jorge Gutierrez
F – Harper Kamp
F – Omondi Amoke

Backcourt

Despite being one of the Pac-10's smallest players, Jerome Randle has come out of the gates in a monstrous way this season is leading the charge for the Bears putting up over 19 points a game and distributing the ball well.

Next to him on the wings are Christopher and Robertson. Both players are physical slashers that can shoot the ball well. All three guards shoot the ball extremely well and get to the line quite a bit. Randle and Robertson are a combined 61-103 from three-point land. The Sun Devils will need to play physical and make the Cal guards work for everything they get.

For ASU, the usual trio will start in the backcourt with Derek Glasser running the point with Ty Abbott and James Harden on the wings. Glasser had a very strong game against Stanford (13 pts, 6 ast) and has really turned into one of the team leaders.
Abbott has been streaky all season long but he has averaging over 10 points per contest and has a knack for hitting the big shots while Harden has taken his game to another level and does everything well. The Bears will do everything they can to limit Harden so Abbott and Glasser will have that many more opportunities.

Edge – ASU

Frontcourt

Jamal Boykin and Jordan Wilkes are very athletic big men that can stretch the court out a little bit and bang inside when they need to. Both are better defensive players but are good at cleaning up on the offensive boards. For Cal to win the frontcourt battle, they will need to get on the offensive boards and initiate contact with Pendergraph.

ASU really only starts one big man in Pendergraph and his counterpart down low is Rihards Kuksiks. The Latvian sophomore, Kuksiks has been a matchup nightmare because he is an excellent shooter and he draws big men out of their comfort zone on the perimeter. If Pendergraph stays out of foul trouble and Kuksiks can knock down some shots, the Devils' offense should find success early and often.

Edge – ASU

Bench

Cal has been able to use their bench well this season with depth at all positions. Jorge Gutierrez can fill in capably anywhere in the backcourt and is becoming a great defender with a nice mix of size and speed. Down low, Mesa native, Harper Kamp is a physical player who plays well on both ends.

For the Devils, the reserve unit has been the biggest question mark all season. Aside from Jamelle McMillan, who has really developed nicely on the offensive end, no other player has been a consistent substitute. Jerren Shipp and Eric Boateng get their fair share of playing time and both are coming off solid performances against Stanford but steadiness is what has been lacking as a whole. To sweep the Bay Area road trip a solid bench contribution will be needed.

Edge – Cal

Final Score – ASU 77 Cal 70


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