Photo: Michael Pimentel
GoldenBearSports.com

Cal finishes up a three game home stand against Colorado from the Big 12 conference. The Bears and Buffs hook up for the 2nd time in consecutive seasons this Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion.

"> Photo: Michael Pimentel
GoldenBearSports.com

Cal finishes up a three game home stand against Colorado from the Big 12 conference. The Bears and Buffs hook up for the 2nd time in consecutive seasons this Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion.

">

Tuesday Night: Cal vs Colorado

<p><font size="-2">Photo: Michael Pimentel<br>GoldenBearSports.com</font></p> <p>Cal finishes up a three game home stand against Colorado from the Big 12 conference. The Bears and Buffs hook up for the 2nd time in consecutive seasons this Tuesday night at Haas Pavilion. </p>

Game #7: Colorado (2-2) vs. California Golden Bears (4-2)
Location: Haas Pavilion
Date: Dec 7th, 2004 (scheduled for 7:00 PM PST start time)

A Look at the Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Ricardo Patton (9th year at Colorado)
Assistants: Paul Graham, Jason Shelton, Paul Sather

Projected Starting Five (returning starters in bold; 2004-05 statistics):

PG – Marcus Hall 6’1 175 So; (14.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 30% 3-Ptr) – Former reserve avg. 15 mpg as a FR
SG – Jason Obazuaye 6’2 190 Jr; (10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 67% 3-Ptr) – Started 17 games last year; avg. 5.1 ppg
SF – Richard Roby 6’6 190 Fr; (15.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 45% 3-Ptr, 53% FG) – Lawrence Academy/Groton MA
PF – Chris Copeland 6’8 240 Jr; (11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 63% 3-Ptr, 55% FG, 100% FT) – Solid face-up shooter
C – Julius Ashby 6’9 225 Jr; (11.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.7 bpg) – North Eastern/Trinidad via Marshalltown CC/Marshalltown IA

Key Reserves:

SF – Glean Eddy 6’5 200 Jr; (3.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) – Top 2-year reserve for the Buffaloes; avg. 5.0 ppg & 3.6 rpg in 03-04
PG – Antoine McGee 5’10 180 Jr; (0.0 ppg, 1.0 apg) – Started 10 of 28 games last year
C – Lamont Arrington 6’11 215 Jr; (3.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg) – Osborn HS/Detroit MI via Schoolcraft CC/Detroit MI
PF – Andy Osborn 6’9 220 Jr; (1.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg) – Transfer from Loyola Marymount University
SF – Martane Freeman 6’7 200 Jr; (1.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg) – Northeast HS/Kansas City MO via Penn Valley JC/Kansas City MO

Ricardo Patton has had a solid run in Boulder as the University of Colorado men’s basketball coach. With a last name like Patton, it’s no surprise that he’s in charge of something. Ricardo has been on the job for nine tough Big 12 years – his first ever head coaching position – where he started out as an assistant in 1993. After Joe Harrington was fired, Patton rose from assistant to head coach largely due to his headliner work on the successful recruitment of former Buffaloes All-American and state prep star Chauncey Billups (3rd overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft). In total, Patton has averaged 18 wins per season and has led the Buffaloes to five post-season appearances; a pair of NCAA Tournament’s (1997, 2003) and a trio of NIT’s (1999, 2000, and 2004). In the 103 year history of Colorado basketball, the Buffaloes have won 20 games in a season just three times – two of them under Patton.

Despite his success at a school not known for its basketball prowess, Patton’s Buffaloes have lost steam. They were picked 10th this year in the Big 12’s annual media poll, largely due to the loss of Colorado’s top three scorers and top three rebounders from last year’s squad, including center David Harrison, marksman Blair Wilson, swingman Michel Morandais, and power forward Lamar Harris. While Wilson, Harris, and Morandais were seniors, Harrison skipped his senior year to enter the 2004 NBA Draft (29th overall pick).

Those departures left the Buffs with massive holes to fill. In an effort to reload the program, Coach Patton has gone straight to the junior college ranks to recruit three players to go with the now eligible LMU transfer, junior Andy Osborn. The Buffaloes are also turning to their top reserves from last season to pick up the slack. That includes three other juniors. No seniors play for the Buffs.

“We have a really exciting group this year with a lot of new faces and I'm still learning the names,” Patton joked. “We have the luxury of playing with different lineups each day while trying to find the right combinations. I think this season will offer a few good surprises.”

With only one sophomore and one freshman on the team, the Buffs aren’t young. But without a senior on the team, they aren’t old either. But don't overlook the two underclassmen - they are the horns of Buffaloes team. Everything starts with sophomore Marcus Hall, a point guard from Houston TX. He’s a top of the line athlete with impressive past track skills (high jump, hurdles, and sprints). His basketball skills are excellent and he’ll soon be one of the top point guards in the Big 12. After an off-season of conditioning, Hall has added some size to his frame. He now possesses a Big 12 physique. Marcus seems to keep something special for games against Pac-10 teams because he’s had just two 20+ point games of his young career - and those are against Cal and Oregon State - including a career high of 29 points in a loss to the Beavers last Saturday. Hall shot 39% last year from three. Like few point guards, the Houston native isn’t just an outside shooter; he’ll mix it up, look to drive and dish too. Marcus can flat out light up the scoreboard when he’s on and it’d be difficult for the Bears to forget his 22 point-3 steal effort last year in just 23 minutes of action.

The only other underclassman who plays for Coach Patton is standout freshman Richard Roby. One of the top candidates for Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Roby is a wiry but very active wing with outstanding basketball skills and a nose for the ball. Through just four games Roby already leads the Buffaloes in scoring, steals, defensive rebounds, and minutes played. A quality shooter, the freshman who prepped in the Boston area for four years and is the reigning Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year, Roby prefers to score around the hoop but has plenty of range (45% from three). He’s not as tall as former Stanford forward Josh Childress but has the same type of rebounding and scoring ability. Perhaps aiding Roby’s development is half-brother Kenyon Martin, who recently moved to the Denver area after being acquired in the off-season by the Nuggets. Unlike K-Mart, Richard is built about half the size; more of the long & lean variety. He’s a very good and active young freshman who is not afraid of contact.

The only starter returning from last year’s NIT squad is Jason Obazuaye, a junior originally from San Jose CA who had dreams of playing at Cal during his prep career at Hill High School. Obazuaye is a combo guard who can handle the ball pretty well but mostly slashes to the basket. He's shooting the ball much better then last year (26% from three in 2003-04, 67% from three in 2004-05). That percentage will obviously fall as the season plays out but it's a nice start to the season. Obazuaye started 17 games last year and averaged just over 17 minutes. He’ll likely play 25 minutes against Cal.

Playing behind Roby, Obazuaye, and Hall are three juniors; returning reserves Glean Eddy and Antoine McGee, plus JC-transfer Martane Freeman. Eddy is the Buffaloes top option off the bench and he’s a valuable combo who can play inside or out. With two years of experience under his belt, he’s a savvy player as well. Backing up at point guard is former starter Antoine McGee, a steady but limited scoring junior PG from Moreno Valley CA. McGee will give the Buffaloes a quality ball-handler to the court. In 42 minutes of action this season, McGee has turned the ball over just once. However, he’s also only dished out 4 assists. Freeman is a newcomer that will slide in for Roby but that’s not often since the freshman is averaging 33 minutes per game. Martane has made one hoop through four games.

The Buffaloes frontcourt was given a huge boost with the successful recruitment of JC-transfers Julius Ashby and Lamont Arrington, plus the addition of Andy Osborn who transferred to Boulder from Loyola Marymount last year. While some expected Arrington to be the starting center, Ashby has taken the starting spot and simply ran with it. An incredible athlete, Ashby is a native of Trindad and has only played two seasons of basketball. Ashby actually played more soccer growing up in the Caribbean. He’s very skilled and runs the court a lot like Cal’s starting post player, Rod Benson. Ashby can block shots, post up, create contact, and rebound as well as anyone on the Colorado roster. Ashby actually came to Colorado hoping to play a year alongside David Harrison, spiting Indiana who he had verbally committed to. Nonetheless, Ashby looks to be a fantastic get. The aforementioned Arrington is spelling Ashby but hasn’t played too well so far. Ashby is clearly the better of the two at this point.

Starting alongside Ashby is sizeable shooting forward Chris Copeland, perhaps the best big man shooter in the Big 12. Copeland is trying to develop more back to the basket skills but still prefers to face up and shoot – something that’s he very good at if he gets a clean look. A two year reserve who can create match-up problems since he’s able to score on the perimeter, Copeland is still building up his stamina as a starter and isn’t a top notch defender. He doesn’t jump very well either. Playing behind Copeland is Andy Osborn, a former standout Colorado prep player who has returned home to play for the Buffaloes. Like Copeland, he’s a good shooter but hasn't advanced defensively.

Colorado is an extremely up-tempo team that plays half court sets predominantly in the passing game offense (pass and screen). With all the new players that Colorado is mixing this year they haven’t been very patient with the offense to date as the first shot is usually taken. They can look impatient getting into the lane - something that's not suggested with Pac-10 referees on the whistle. When CU doesn’t work the passing game, they often spread the court and just post Ashby in the lane hoping to get their developing post man a quality look. However, Colorado has looked far better when they are pushing the ball and running.

“This is the most athletic team we've had since I've been here,” Patton said. “We are a lot quicker and we'll be able to extend our defense further than in the past.”

A Look at the Claifornia Golden Bears

Cal Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Ben Braun (9th Year)
Assistants: Louis Reynaud, Joe Pasternack, George Nessman

Projected Starting Five (returning starters in bold; 2004-05 statistics):

PG – Richard Midgley 6'2 210 Jr; (17.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 62% 3-Ptr) – 2-year starter; Top 3-point shooter
SG – Marquise Kately 6’5 220 So; (12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 45% FG) – Tied for tops in rebounding; Top Wing
SF – Dominic McGuire 6’9 215 So; (6.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.5 apg) – 3rd in rebounding and minutes played in 2004-05
PF – Rod Benson 6’10 215 Jr; (11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 67% FG, 64% FT) – Shooting 65% as a 1st year starter
C – DeVon Hardin 6’10 245 Fr; (5.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) – Newark HS, Newark CA – Tied for tops in rebounding

Key Reserves:

PG – Martin Smith 5’11 170 Jr; (3.8 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 3.7 apg) – Averaging 19 minutes per game as reserve PG
PF – David Paris 6’9 245 Jr; (6.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 53% FG, 85% FT) – 3rd in FG%; #1 in Free Throws
SF – Eric Vierneisel 6’7 200 Fr; (3.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 33% 3-Ptr) – Jacobs HS, Algonquin IL
PF – Kevin Langford 6’9 215 Fr; (1.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg) – North Crowley HS, Fort Worth TX

The Bears return to the court at Haas Pavilion to finish off a three-game home stand against a familiar foe, the Colorado Buffaloes. This past Saturday, Cal topped one of the better NEC teams this season, Fairleigh Dickinson, 80-66. On Wednesday, the Bears dropped a 73-72 buzzer beater to UNLV, leaving Cal at 4-2 on the season.

The Bears have a nice rematch set up with the Buffaloes after losing last year 78-60 in Boulder. This is the return of a home-and-home series in Berkeley and it should be a very entertaining contest. Both teams push the ball up the court and have some spectacular young athletes that are growing into their games. While the Buffaloes will mix up their defensive tactics, Cal will likely play their patented switching half court man-to-man scheme. Combining youth with athletic teams could prove to make this a game of runs. We could see some monster dunks along with press-caused turnovers.

The feature match-up squares Colorado sophomore point guard Marcus Hall against the Bears junior point man Richard Midgley. These two have similar scoring styles, physiques, and the ability to make their team flow or stall. Even their stat lines from their last game shows what a great battle this will be: Midgley 28 points (including 6 three’s), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals; Hall 29 points (including 2 three’s), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Both are scoring point guards. While Hall hasn't quite broken out from deep this season, Midgley is on fire from three point land, shooting an almost ridiculous 62%.

That's a headline grabbing statistic.

Cal has a size advantage at every starting position, plus a number off the bench too. While Colorado has a speed advantage at the point (Hall), the Bears have the much quicker player at the power forward position (Benson). The Buffaloes like to use power forward Chris Copeland on the perimeter on offense, while Cal likes to sprint out junior Rod Benson for easy baskets. Given that Benson should be able to get by and around Copeland fairly easy, look for Coach Patton to switch up and run newcomer Lamont Arrington out on Benson. He's a much better match-up. Additionally, in the post Cal freshman DeVon Hardin should have quite the battle with Colorado newcomer Julius Ashby. Both players have the ability to block shots, get to the rim, and rebound the basketball. Ashby is much more polished offensively but, Hardin is a standout young defender so we'll see some excellent battles. Statistically, Ashby has collected 31 rebounds through four games averaging 28 minutes, while Hardin has 30 rebounds through four games averaging 16 minutes.

The wing offers four fantastically athletic young performers in Colorado’s Richard Roby and Jason Obazuaye vs Cal’s Marquise Kately and Dominic McGuire. All four players have a nose for the ball and while Kately and McGuire should be able to post and slash for baskets, Roby and Obazuaye are quality three point options. If the game becomes more of a defensive battle, Cal will have an advantage since both McGuire and Kately are better rebounders.

Both teams are poor free throw shooting teams (Colorado 62%, Cal 60%). With the type of athleticism and liklihood of fast breaking basketball, there could be plenty of fouls called, so hitting the free ones may be decisive. Mix that with two high quality three point shooting teams (Colorado 37%, Cal 51%), and an exciting game is in store.

Oregon State had to play a pretty good game to knock off the Buffaloes in Corvallis this past Saturday. The Beavers actually shot 58% for the game and 50% from three. Cal will need to match Colorado's energy and to knock down a good percentage of shots - it won't be a surprise if the winning team scores in the upper 80's.


©Copyright 2004, BearInsider.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe to The Bear Insider so you can participate in this online community and get access to the members-only content from the nation-wide Insider's network.

Bear Insider staff writers visit the Insider discussion board regularly, and are available to discuss questions you may have about this article and Cal Athletics.


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Game #7: Colorado (2-2) vs. California Golden Bears (4-2)
Location: Haas Pavilion
Date: Dec 7th, 2004 (scheduled for 7:00 PM PST start time)

A Look at the Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Ricardo Patton (9th year at Colorado)
Assistants: Paul Graham, Jason Shelton, Paul Sather

Projected Starting Five (returning starters in bold; 2004-05 statistics):

PG – Marcus Hall 6’1 175 So; (14.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, 30% 3-Ptr) – Former reserve avg. 15 mpg as a FR
SG – Jason Obazuaye 6’2 190 Jr; (10.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 67% 3-Ptr) – Started 17 games last year; avg. 5.1 ppg
SF – Richard Roby 6’6 190 Fr; (15.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 45% 3-Ptr, 53% FG) – Lawrence Academy/Groton MA
PF – Chris Copeland 6’8 240 Jr; (11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 63% 3-Ptr, 55% FG, 100% FT) – Solid face-up shooter
C – Julius Ashby 6’9 225 Jr; (11.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.7 bpg) – North Eastern/Trinidad via Marshalltown CC/Marshalltown IA

Key Reserves:

SF – Glean Eddy 6’5 200 Jr; (3.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg) – Top 2-year reserve for the Buffaloes; avg. 5.0 ppg & 3.6 rpg in 03-04
PG – Antoine McGee 5’10 180 Jr; (0.0 ppg, 1.0 apg) – Started 10 of 28 games last year
C – Lamont Arrington 6’11 215 Jr; (3.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg) – Osborn HS/Detroit MI via Schoolcraft CC/Detroit MI
PF – Andy Osborn 6’9 220 Jr; (1.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg) – Transfer from Loyola Marymount University
SF – Martane Freeman 6’7 200 Jr; (1.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg) – Northeast HS/Kansas City MO via Penn Valley JC/Kansas City MO

Ricardo Patton has had a solid run in Boulder as the University of Colorado men’s basketball coach. With a last name like Patton, it’s no surprise that he’s in charge of something. Ricardo has been on the job for nine tough Big 12 years – his first ever head coaching position – where he started out as an assistant in 1993. After Joe Harrington was fired, Patton rose from assistant to head coach largely due to his headliner work on the successful recruitment of former Buffaloes All-American and state prep star Chauncey Billups (3rd overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft). In total, Patton has averaged 18 wins per season and has led the Buffaloes to five post-season appearances; a pair of NCAA Tournament’s (1997, 2003) and a trio of NIT’s (1999, 2000, and 2004). In the 103 year history of Colorado basketball, the Buffaloes have won 20 games in a season just three times – two of them under Patton.

Despite his success at a school not known for its basketball prowess, Patton’s Buffaloes have lost steam. They were picked 10th this year in the Big 12’s annual media poll, largely due to the loss of Colorado’s top three scorers and top three rebounders from last year’s squad, including center David Harrison, marksman Blair Wilson, swingman Michel Morandais, and power forward Lamar Harris. While Wilson, Harris, and Morandais were seniors, Harrison skipped his senior year to enter the 2004 NBA Draft (29th overall pick).

Those departures left the Buffs with massive holes to fill. In an effort to reload the program, Coach Patton has gone straight to the junior college ranks to recruit three players to go with the now eligible LMU transfer, junior Andy Osborn. The Buffaloes are also turning to their top reserves from last season to pick up the slack. That includes three other juniors. No seniors play for the Buffs.

“We have a really exciting group this year with a lot of new faces and I'm still learning the names,” Patton joked. “We have the luxury of playing with different lineups each day while trying to find the right combinations. I think this season will offer a few good surprises.”

With only one sophomore and one freshman on the team, the Buffs aren’t young. But without a senior on the team, they aren’t old either. But don't overlook the two underclassmen - they are the horns of Buffaloes team. Everything starts with sophomore Marcus Hall, a point guard from Houston TX. He’s a top of the line athlete with impressive past track skills (high jump, hurdles, and sprints). His basketball skills are excellent and he’ll soon be one of the top point guards in the Big 12. After an off-season of conditioning, Hall has added some size to his frame. He now possesses a Big 12 physique. Marcus seems to keep something special for games against Pac-10 teams because he’s had just two 20+ point games of his young career - and those are against Cal and Oregon State - including a career high of 29 points in a loss to the Beavers last Saturday. Hall shot 39% last year from three. Like few point guards, the Houston native isn’t just an outside shooter; he’ll mix it up, look to drive and dish too. Marcus can flat out light up the scoreboard when he’s on and it’d be difficult for the Bears to forget his 22 point-3 steal effort last year in just 23 minutes of action.

The only other underclassman who plays for Coach Patton is standout freshman Richard Roby. One of the top candidates for Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Roby is a wiry but very active wing with outstanding basketball skills and a nose for the ball. Through just four games Roby already leads the Buffaloes in scoring, steals, defensive rebounds, and minutes played. A quality shooter, the freshman who prepped in the Boston area for four years and is the reigning Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year, Roby prefers to score around the hoop but has plenty of range (45% from three). He’s not as tall as former Stanford forward Josh Childress but has the same type of rebounding and scoring ability. Perhaps aiding Roby’s development is half-brother Kenyon Martin, who recently moved to the Denver area after being acquired in the off-season by the Nuggets. Unlike K-Mart, Richard is built about half the size; more of the long & lean variety. He’s a very good and active young freshman who is not afraid of contact.

The only starter returning from last year’s NIT squad is Jason Obazuaye, a junior originally from San Jose CA who had dreams of playing at Cal during his prep career at Hill High School. Obazuaye is a combo guard who can handle the ball pretty well but mostly slashes to the basket. He's shooting the ball much better then last year (26% from three in 2003-04, 67% from three in 2004-05). That percentage will obviously fall as the season plays out but it's a nice start to the season. Obazuaye started 17 games last year and averaged just over 17 minutes. He’ll likely play 25 minutes against Cal.

Playing behind Roby, Obazuaye, and Hall are three juniors; returning reserves Glean Eddy and Antoine McGee, plus JC-transfer Martane Freeman. Eddy is the Buffaloes top option off the bench and he’s a valuable combo who can play inside or out. With two years of experience under his belt, he’s a savvy player as well. Backing up at point guard is former starter Antoine McGee, a steady but limited scoring junior PG from Moreno Valley CA. McGee will give the Buffaloes a quality ball-handler to the court. In 42 minutes of action this season, McGee has turned the ball over just once. However, he’s also only dished out 4 assists. Freeman is a newcomer that will slide in for Roby but that’s not often since the freshman is averaging 33 minutes per game. Martane has made one hoop through four games.

The Buffaloes frontcourt was given a huge boost with the successful recruitment of JC-transfers Julius Ashby and Lamont Arrington, plus the addition of Andy Osborn who transferred to Boulder from Loyola Marymount last year. While some expected Arrington to be the starting center, Ashby has taken the starting spot and simply ran with it. An incredible athlete, Ashby is a native of Trindad and has only played two seasons of basketball. Ashby actually played more soccer growing up in the Caribbean. He’s very skilled and runs the court a lot like Cal’s starting post player, Rod Benson. Ashby can block shots, post up, create contact, and rebound as well as anyone on the Colorado roster. Ashby actually came to Colorado hoping to play a year alongside David Harrison, spiting Indiana who he had verbally committed to. Nonetheless, Ashby looks to be a fantastic get. The aforementioned Arrington is spelling Ashby but hasn’t played too well so far. Ashby is clearly the better of the two at this point.

Starting alongside Ashby is sizeable shooting forward Chris Copeland, perhaps the best big man shooter in the Big 12. Copeland is trying to develop more back to the basket skills but still prefers to face up and shoot – something that’s he very good at if he gets a clean look. A two year reserve who can create match-up problems since he’s able to score on the perimeter, Copeland is still building up his stamina as a starter and isn’t a top notch defender. He doesn’t jump very well either. Playing behind Copeland is Andy Osborn, a former standout Colorado prep player who has returned home to play for the Buffaloes. Like Copeland, he’s a good shooter but hasn't advanced defensively.

Colorado is an extremely up-tempo team that plays half court sets predominantly in the passing game offense (pass and screen). With all the new players that Colorado is mixing this year they haven’t been very patient with the offense to date as the first shot is usually taken. They can look impatient getting into the lane - something that's not suggested with Pac-10 referees on the whistle. When CU doesn’t work the passing game, they often spread the court and just post Ashby in the lane hoping to get their developing post man a quality look. However, Colorado has looked far better when they are pushing the ball and running.

“This is the most athletic team we've had since I've been here,” Patton said. “We are a lot quicker and we'll be able to extend our defense further than in the past.”

A Look at the Claifornia Golden Bears

Cal Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Ben Braun (9th Year)
Assistants: Louis Reynaud, Joe Pasternack, George Nessman

Projected Starting Five (returning starters in bold; 2004-05 statistics):

PG – Richard Midgley 6'2 210 Jr; (17.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 62% 3-Ptr) – 2-year starter; Top 3-point shooter
SG – Marquise Kately 6’5 220 So; (12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 45% FG) – Tied for tops in rebounding; Top Wing
SF – Dominic McGuire 6’9 215 So; (6.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.5 apg) – 3rd in rebounding and minutes played in 2004-05
PF – Rod Benson 6’10 215 Jr; (11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 67% FG, 64% FT) – Shooting 65% as a 1st year starter
C – DeVon Hardin 6’10 245 Fr; (5.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) – Newark HS, Newark CA – Tied for tops in rebounding

Key Reserves:

PG – Martin Smith 5’11 170 Jr; (3.8 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 3.7 apg) – Averaging 19 minutes per game as reserve PG
PF – David Paris 6’9 245 Jr; (6.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 53% FG, 85% FT) – 3rd in FG%; #1 in Free Throws
SF – Eric Vierneisel 6’7 200 Fr; (3.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 33% 3-Ptr) – Jacobs HS, Algonquin IL
PF – Kevin Langford 6’9 215 Fr; (1.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg) – North Crowley HS, Fort Worth TX

The Bears return to the court at Haas Pavilion to finish off a three-game home stand against a familiar foe, the Colorado Buffaloes. This past Saturday, Cal topped one of the better NEC teams this season, Fairleigh Dickinson, 80-66. On Wednesday, the Bears dropped a 73-72 buzzer beater to UNLV, leaving Cal at 4-2 on the season.

The Bears have a nice rematch set up with the Buffaloes after losing last year 78-60 in Boulder. This is the return of a home-and-home series in Berkeley and it should be a very entertaining contest. Both teams push the ball up the court and have some spectacular young athletes that are growing into their games. While the Buffaloes will mix up their defensive tactics, Cal will likely play their patented switching half court man-to-man scheme. Combining youth with athletic teams could prove to make this a game of runs. We could see some monster dunks along with press-caused turnovers.

The feature match-up squares Colorado sophomore point guard Marcus Hall against the Bears junior point man Richard Midgley. These two have similar scoring styles, physiques, and the ability to make their team flow or stall. Even their stat lines from their last game shows what a great battle this will be: Midgley 28 points (including 6 three’s), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals; Hall 29 points (including 2 three’s), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Both are scoring point guards. While Hall hasn't quite broken out from deep this season, Midgley is on fire from three point land, shooting an almost ridiculous 62%.

That's a headline grabbing statistic.

Cal has a size advantage at every starting position, plus a number off the bench too. While Colorado has a speed advantage at the point (Hall), the Bears have the much quicker player at the power forward position (Benson). The Buffaloes like to use power forward Chris Copeland on the perimeter on offense, while Cal likes to sprint out junior Rod Benson for easy baskets. Given that Benson should be able to get by and around Copeland fairly easy, look for Coach Patton to switch up and run newcomer Lamont Arrington out on Benson. He's a much better match-up. Additionally, in the post Cal freshman DeVon Hardin should have quite the battle with Colorado newcomer Julius Ashby. Both players have the ability to block shots, get to the rim, and rebound the basketball. Ashby is much more polished offensively but, Hardin is a standout young defender so we'll see some excellent battles. Statistically, Ashby has collected 31 rebounds through four games averaging 28 minutes, while Hardin has 30 rebounds through four games averaging 16 minutes.

The wing offers four fantastically athletic young performers in Colorado’s Richard Roby and Jason Obazuaye vs Cal’s Marquise Kately and Dominic McGuire. All four players have a nose for the ball and while Kately and McGuire should be able to post and slash for baskets, Roby and Obazuaye are quality three point options. If the game becomes more of a defensive battle, Cal will have an advantage since both McGuire and Kately are better rebounders.

Both teams are poor free throw shooting teams (Colorado 62%, Cal 60%). With the type of athleticism and liklihood of fast breaking basketball, there could be plenty of fouls called, so hitting the free ones may be decisive. Mix that with two high quality three point shooting teams (Colorado 37%, Cal 51%), and an exciting game is in store.

Oregon State had to play a pretty good game to knock off the Buffaloes in Corvallis this past Saturday. The Beavers actually shot 58% for the game and 50% from three. Cal will need to match Colorado's energy and to knock down a good percentage of shots - it won't be a surprise if the winning team scores in the upper 80's.


©Copyright 2004, BearInsider.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe to The Bear Insider so you can participate in this online community and get access to the members-only content from the nation-wide Insider's network.

Bear Insider staff writers visit the Insider discussion board regularly, and are available to discuss questions you may have about this article and Cal Athletics.

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