Game Matchups and Preview: Utah vs Cal

The red hot Golden Bears roll into Salt Lake City to take on the Utes

Delon Wright just keeps rolling along. Probably a first team all american at this point. It's a great sign for Utah that Brandon Taylor can struggle from a scoring standpoint, but still have him affect the game as he did against Stanford with 8 assists. One game does not make a shooting drought, and Taylor should be able to bounce back against Cal with his 3 ball.

Delon Wright is going to be matched up with nearest equivalent in the conference in Tyrone Wallace. The junior point guard leads the Bears in points (17.4), rebounds (7.8), assists (3.7), and steals (1.3) per game. He's not a great shooter from deep though at only 31% and struggles at the line at just over 60%. Jordan Mathews joins Wallace to form one of the best back-courts in the conference. Mathews averages 15.1 points per game and knocks down 45% of his attempts from deep.
Advantage: Even

If the Jordan Loveridge we saw on Thursday is the Jordan Loveridge we see the rest of the season, Utah's chances at a Final 4 run greatly improve. His aggressiveness in taking the ball to the basket keeps the junior from being a one-dimensional shooter, something that makes things easier for his teammates to do their thing on the offensive end. Chris Reyes wears a hard-hat and brings a lunch-pail to work every day. His uniform should consist of a pair of boots and a trash collector jumpsuit, because he's the ultimate garbage man player that doesn't show up in the box score, but does all of the little things that no one else wants to do, gets little love, but his contributions help keep this ship moving.

Jabari Bird plays more of a guard role, but we'll slot him in as a small forward here. A former highly recruited prospect, Bird hasn't made the jump in his game from his freshman to this, his sophomore year, that most had anticipated. He's averaging 8.9 points on the year. Dwight Tarwater is a 6-6, 230 pound bruiser who averages 3.9 points and 2.8 rebounds.
Advantage: Utah

Jakob Poeltl's struggles on the offensive side of the ball in Pac 12 play continued against Stanford. Is he in danger of losing his starting spot to Dallin Bachynski? Probably not, but the up and (mostly) down play has to be somewhat of concern. He needs to get back on track before March.

David Kravish is another physical inside presence that Poeltl gets to go against, meaning we may see more of Bachynski again. The senior is averaging 10.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest.
Advantage: Even

At what point does Larry Krystkowiak move Brekkott Chapman into the starting lineup for Chris Reyes, or do you not mess with a good thing? On paper, Chapman is the superior player, but Larry knows more than we do, and he must like his rotations the way they are. Chapman boosts the bench while Reyes plays a complimentary role as a starter. It's working for now. Over/under on attempted Bachynski 15+ foot jumpers on Sunday? 2.5. His confidence is sky high right now.

Cal lost Christian Behrens to knee surgery this week, shortening an already thin bench. Sam Singer averages 4. That's about it.
Advantage: Utah

The Breakdown
Five straight wins by Cal has them back to .500 in conference play, but none of those wins were over an opponent anywhere near the quality of Utah. The Huntsman Center will be rocking and rolling, Delon Wright will win his battle with Wallace, and the Utes will put together another one of their big in-game runs to knock off Cal. The Bears are on a roll. That ends Sunday.

The Pick
Utah 71 Cal 57

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