Cobbs is probably more of a point guard than Lyons, but they are similar in that you really do not know what to expect from them. Cobbs can go out and struggle or have a game in which he is the best player on the court. He is currently averaging 15 points per game on 45 percent shooting, but has only shot above 44 percent twice in conference play. Lyons is likely going to have his hands full, but Cobbs will as well. We see this being a pretty even matchup and should one team wind up with a major advantage, it could be the difference in the game.
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, So.) vs. Allen Crabbe (6-6, 210, Jr.)
Crabbe plays nearly 36 minutes per game and is easily Cal's best chance of winning. If he struggles, the Golden Bears are going to struggle and if Crabbe dominates, the opposite is likely to happen. Crabbe's three-point shooting is down nearly five percent from last season, but he is still shooting 47 percent from the field to average 19 points per game. Crabbe has scored in single digits only once this season and, in no coincidence, it was a 15-point loss to Washington. Johnson's responsibility in this game will not be on offense, because he is unlikely to match Crabbe in that regard. However, if Johnson can limit Crabbe's success rate, Arizona is going to be much better for it.
SF: Solomon Hill (6-7, 220, Sr.) vs. Tyrone Wallace (6-4, 186, Fr.)
Wallace has been inconsistent, but he is a freshman, so that makes it excusable. Wallace scored 16 points and had eight rebounds against Arizona State, which shows his potential. However, he also two points two games before that. Wallace does struggle a bit defensively despite being able to pick up steals. Hill is a much stronger and bigger player than Wallace so if he is smart, he will take him into the lane. In addition, Hill has experience and is simply the better player. Wallace is dangerous and Hill is going to have to play well defensively, but that does not erase the fact that Hill should have a better game.
With Sean Miller mentioning possible changes to the starting lineup, you have to think Ashley coming off the bench is the most likely. However, we really don't know what Miller will do yet and Ashley's potential still makes him dangerous throughout a game. You know what you are going to get with Kravish, which is a few buckets and a handful of rebounds each game. He does have the ability to score a bit more than his eight point average, but so does Ashley. Ashley is completely unpredictable at this point, but his potential is much higher than Kravish. If anything, Ashley is either going to be even with Kravish or outplay him, so we will give him the advantage here.
This will be an interesting game for Tarczewski because Cal has aggressive guards and if he could not handle Stanford's periemeter play, it is questionable if he will be able to handle what Cal brings to the table. Still, there is little reason to think that Tarczewski can't match Solomon's production. Solomon shoots 41 percent from the field, which obviously is not a great percentage for a big man. We doubt either player gets a big advantage here, even if the Wildcats go with Angelo Chol for extended minutes.
Bench: Some of this depends on whether or not Grant Jerrett plays but even if he does not, Cal just does not have much depth. It plays guard Brandon Smith, who averages about three points in 20 minutes per game. In addition, the Golden Bears will bring big man Robert Thurman, who puts up five points and four rebounds in 18 minutes per game. Arizona should be able to match anything the Golden Bears have on their bench and Kevin Parrom is going to be the best player in that role for either team.
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Mike Montgomery
Montgomery at Cal has been somewhat of a disappointment, but we can't erase what he has done in the past. He has 25 winning seasons in 26 years, which shows how successful of a coach he has been. We would not be surprised if Sean Miller has a lot of success before his career ends, but this game is very likely not going to be won because of a coaching advantage.
Prediction: Cal is an interesting team because on paper there is plenty of talent. Cobbs, Crabbe, and Wallace are a very solid core, but for some reason the Golden Bears are just not able to win many games. Arizona is a heavy favorite here and it is because it can come close to matching Cal at its big three positions and then has an advantage on the bench and in other places as well. Arizona needs to avoid a slow start here and this just feels like a game in which things will click for the Wildcats.
Arizona 78, California 64