Breakdown: Arizona vs. California

Arizona will battle Cal on Saturday night, trying to remain undefeated and pick up the road sweep. Read on for a complete positional breakdown, statistics, and more.



Arizona at California
Feb. 1 at 8:30 pm
TV: Pac-12
Haas Pavilion

ARIZONA

CALIFORNIA
Overall Record 21-0 (1.000) 14-7 (.666)
Location Record 5-0 (1.000) on the road 10-1 (.909) at home
Scoring/G: PF&PA(Rank) 75 (99) 56.7 (4) 75.8 (79) 69 (144)
Rebound Margin/G: RM(Rank) 10.1 (5) 3.2 (95)
Steals/G:
S(Rank)
5.8 (224) 5.8 (224)
Assists/G: A(Rank)
15.6 (29) 15.8 (25)
Field-Goal Percentage: FG%(Rank) 48.6 (18) 46.4 (76)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 3FG%(Rank) 36.2 (104) 34.1 (172)
Field-Goal Percentage Against: FG%(Rank) 37.2 (4) 41.4 (91)
Ranking: Coaches' Poll #1 N/A
Ranking:
AP Poll
#1 N/A

RPI

2 (.6975) 51 (.5849)
Point Guard

ADVANTAGE: Even
PG: T.J. McConnell (6-1, 195, Jr.) vs. Justin Cobbs (6-4, 190, Sr.)

McConnell played his two worst games of the season against Colorado and Utah, but bounced back nicely against Stanford. He is not the scorer Cobbs is by any means, but he is also not asked to do what Cobbs has to do in order for Cal to win. Most people would probably look at this matchup and give Cobbs the advantage and I understand that. However, he doesn't run Cal effectively. His assists generally come when he just doesn't have a shot and almost has to pass it off and he doesn't adapt well to the tempo of the game. Basically, his weaknesses are what McConnell does well. We're guessing that Cobbs is probably going to score more than McConnell and that's likely fine with Arizona, because McConnell will excel in the areas Sean Miller needs him to.

Shooting Guard

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SG: Nick Johnson (6-3, 200, Jr.) vs. Jordan Matthews (6-3, 195, Fr.)

Matthews has surprised a lot of people, but still has not played all that well. He does have some good games, notably two 18-point performances against USC and UCLA and a 32-point performance against Oregon. Those shots will not be nearly as easy to come by against Johnson, who will make it difficult for Matthews to get into a rhythm, which is exactly what he needs. On the other hand, this is one of the first matchups that Cal likely just can't handle defensively. Matthews is not a terrible defender, but he is going to have difficulty guarding Johnson, just like he did Jermaine Marshall of ASU last game.

Small Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
SF: Aaron Gordon (6-9, 225, Fr.) vs. Tyrone Wallace (6-5, 190, So.)

When Wallace has success, the Golden Bears are much more to be likely successful as well. He is averaging 11 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds while playing three different positions. Wallace actually had a streak of nine consecutive double digit scoring games, but since then has seen his scoring average decrease, as he has scored in double digits in only three of his last nine. Wallace can score, but it is the other things he does well that make him so important. The problem here is that Gordon is likely going to stop him from doing those things. Look, there's no reason to talk about his offensive struggles when his defense and rebounding continues to be so strong. There's no sign of a drop off there and we have a feeling he puts together an improved offensive game on Saturday.

Power Forward

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
PF: Brandon Ashley (6-8, 230, So.) vs. David Kravish (6-9, 221, Jr.)

Kravish is an interesting player because he can go from only taking a handful of shots to finishing with the most on the team. He is certainly a decent player, but his ceiling is not what Ashley's is. Ashley shouldn't have a ton of trouble with fouls in this one because Kravish just isn't that type of player. Arizona is going to try to use its size to make Kravish's life difficult, so it would not be a surprise to see him become more of a perimeter player, which Arizona will accept.

Center

ADVANTAGE: Even
C: Kaleb Tarczewski (7-0, 235, So.) vs. Richard Solomon (6-10, 235, Sr.)

Tarczewski has not been nearly aggressive enough as of late. In his past two games, he has only taken a combined two shots and while you could possibly blame his teammates for not getting him the ball more, those numbers also include shots on the offensive glass, which aren't coming. He was outplayed in the Stanford game and this is a nice bounce back opportunity for him. He definitely has the ability to slow Solomon down and a big reason why the rebounding numbers are so high is because there aren't many other guys that get on the glass like him. We could see Solomon grabbing a few more rebounds than Tarczewski, but we are guessing it is going to be closer to even.

Bench

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
Bench: Jabari Bird is the main player off the bench, but he has struggled since coming back from injury. There is no doubt there is talent there, as shown by his 17 points against Syracuse and a few other solid games. Since coming back, he has only scored more than four points once in five games. Sam Singer is a guard that will play some minutes, but is not likely to score much. Jeff Powers is basically a three-point shooter off the bench. If he is not making threes or Montgomery does not feel it is worth it, Powers is not going to play. He only has seven minutes combined in his past two games, but will get more if he comes in and hits a three or two. Arizona is just as deep as Cal and the talent is comparable as well.
Coaching

ADVANTAGE: Even
Coaching: Sean Miller vs. Mike Montgomery

This is a tough one because Montgomery did well at Stanford, making an Elite Eight and Final Four. Excluding the Final Four, Miller has matched Montgomery's postseason success in less games. Miller is likely headed towards a better overall career and while Montgomery is a solid coach, he has been disappointing at Cal. We're going to call this one even only because we don't think this game will really come down to coaching.

Outcome

ADVANTAGE: Arizona
72 68
Cal's losing streak is a bit deceiving only because you just know that the Golden Bears are going to come out more motivated than it has been all season and looking for that big win. The Golden Bears don't really match up well though and the main reason is defense. Cal has not been defending all that well and Montgomery has expressed frustration with how his team is shooting. The ability is definitely there and we think this will be another close game, but we just have the feeling Arizona's defense puts it over the hump again.


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