Yes, Josiah Turner has been playing better, but Cobbs is one of the best scorers in the conference and may be one of the best players overall. Cobbs is averaging 13 points and nearly five assists per game while only turning the ball over a little over twice per outing. He shoots 49 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc. Turner is going to have his work cut out for him and may put together a strong game, but it is difficult to see him matching Cobb.
Gutierrez has improved every year he has been at Cal and is now a legitimately dangerous player, as he averages 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and leading the team in steals. It is difficult to imagine Fogg having a strong offensive game if Gutierrez is guarding him and while Fogg is good defensively, you get the feeling Gutierrez will still have success.
Johnson simply does not have a choice anymore because he needs to play better. Crabbe is Cal's leading scorer and he also adds six rebounds per game while rarely turning the ball over. The one weakness with Crabbe is that he does not go to the line, but it really does not matter. The only way Arizona has a chance in this game is if Johnson steps up significantly on both sides of the court, or else it could be a long night for the Wildcats.
Cal may put Kamp on Hill, but it really should not matter. Hill needs to play like he did against Washington and is capable of doing so. He is the best scorer on the team and Arizona needs him to act like it if it is going to have a chance in this one. Hill needs to be aggressive and have the same mentality he did on Saturday when he drove into the paint at will. Thursday's game will tell us a lot about what type of player Hill is going to be for the rest of the season.
Kamp is averaging about ten points and five rebounds per game, as he has been unable to match his production from last season. Kamp is still a strong player, but does not seem to be the type of guy that is going to kill Arizona on Thursday, unless Perry lets him. Perry is another player that needs to be aggressive near the basket and on the glass in order to maximize Arizona's opportunities. He struggled against UW, so it would be nice to see Perry bounce back on Thursday.
Bench: We like what Brendon Lavender brings to the game, but not having Kevin Parrom is a killer in terms of depth. The interesting aspect here is that Cal actually does not have more depth. Beyond Brandon Smith, there is not one player off the bench that has the capability to have a strong game and we don't see the bench for either team being a huge factor in this contest.
Coaches: Sean Miller vs. Mike Montgomery
Miller may be on his way to greatness, but Montgomery has already accomplished a ton and has the respect of many coaches throughout the country. This game will come down to talent, not coaching, but we figure we need to give Montgomery respect when it is due. Again, Miller may get there, but Montgomery has already accomplished plenty.
Prediction: The Golden Bears have not lost at home this season and there is little reason to think that Thursday will be the first. Arizona is just overmatched here in the back court and will need a career performance or two to have a chance. The teams are going in opposite directions and losing Parrom certainly does not help matters. The first five minutes or so will tell us a lot about this game, but Cal is just the better team.
California 75, Arizona 62