Dane Miller’s Dec 11 Cal vs. WSU Men’s Basketball Preview
Posted on January 11, 2023
Wednesday games are notoriously disliked by teams in the Pac-12, but California has a hump day tip in back-to-back weeks starting tonight against Washington State.
The Cougs are coming off what might be the top win in program history and can’t let up against a revitalized Bears team.
I preview the matchup here and my pick appears at the bottom.
California at Washington State
Wednesday, January 11
8:00 pm PT, ESPN
Mouhamed Gueye and the Cougars dominated Arizona in Tucson and return to the Palouse for a matchup with California.
Whenever a team gets a big win the next game is sometimes a letdown. It’s happened throughout the history of College Basketball and will continue into the future.
Whether or not that happens to Washington State against the Bears, though, is another question.
Lars Thiemann, ND Okafor, Grant Newell, and Kuany Kuany comprise a respectable Cal frontcourt that may match up well with Gueye and Adrame Diongue.
But Kyle Smith played his two primary bigs together on Saturday for what seemed like one of the few times this season.
Having both Gueye and Diongue on the floor at the same time substantially changes how opponents have to defend WSU and arguably makes the Cougars a stronger team.
Yet, it’s the Wazzu role players that have made the difference over the last few games. DJ Rodman has been knocking down his threes while securing rebounds and Jabe Mullins has been deadly beyond the arc.
The team has gelled since the return of Andrej Jakimovski and is in position to do damage in the Pac-12. Still, one stumble can change the perception of the season and plenty of work remains to be done.
Perimeter defense against the Bears could arguably be the deciding factor on the Palouse. DeJuan Clayton and Company went off against Stanford last week and figure to come out swinging.
But as long as Washington State limits its turnovers, defends the three, and hits its average shooting percentage from deep, the Cougs should handle California at home.
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