2008 NIT Capsule: California
California Golden Bears
Pacific 10 (16-15, 6-12)
Big Wins: 1/3 USC (92-82), 1/31 at Washington State (69-64), 2/16 at Arizona State (76-73)
Bad Losses: 12/22 Utah (65-67), 1/17 Arizona State (90-99), 3/1 Washington (84-87)
Coach: Ben Braun
Jermone Randle, Sophomore, Guard, 11.7 ppg, 3.9 apg
Patrick Christopher, Sophomore, Guard, 15.8 ppg, 2.0 apg, 3.6 rpg
Ryan Anderson, Sophomore, Forward, 21.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg
Eric Vierneisel, Senior, Forward, 5.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg
Jamal Boykin, Sophomore, Forward, 7.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Nikola Knezevic, Sophomore, Guard, 2.7 ppg, 2.1 apg
Harper Kamp, Freshman, Forward, 4.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
DeVon Hardin, Senior, Center, 9.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg
Why They Can Surprise:
There are a few good reasons why California can win a few postseason games, but the main reason is Ryan Anderson. The 6-10 forward averages a mere 21.3 points and 10.0 rebounds. Anderson hits two long balls per game and shoots nearly 50 percent from the floor. He has not scored under ten points in any game this season and even when his shot is not falling, he will put up some huge numbers. For example, Anderson only hit two of eight three-pointers in a January game against Arizona State, but he still managed to score 32 points by using his size to get the basket and the charity stripe.
Anderson is not the only shooter on the team and point guard Jerome Randle and off-guard Patrick Christopher can go off from long range. Randle averages 11.7 points per game, not to mention a team high 3.9 assists. Christopher does a pretty good job of getting to the basket to compliment his outside shooting and he will use his 6-5 size to his advantage. When Anderson, Randle and Christopher’s shots are falling, the Golden Bears are tough to beat.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Certainly allowing the opponents to score nearly 76 points per game is understandable since Cal will score nearly 78, but the defense has bigger problems than just giving up a lot of points. The opposition shoots over 44 percent from the floor and Cal has no way to stop them. DeVon Hardin is a decent shot blocker, but nobody else is much of an intimidator under the basket and even most centers will not be scared of Hardin in the paint. Cal will usually let the team get a shot off too as they do not force that many turnovers. Luckily, the offense is dynamic enough not to have to depend on steals to spark the offense.
Who To Watch:
The addition of Jamal Boykin, a transfer from Duke has helped strengthen the Bears frontline. He is a decent interior scorer and has plenty of strength to play tough defense and battle on the boards. Eric Vierneisel has a similar game to Anderson, albeit far less effective. The 6-7 forward has the size to hit the glass and a nice looking stroke out to the three-point line.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.3 (31st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 75.5 (299, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (53, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.7 (225, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.8 (155, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.3 (116, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.0 (2, 1)
Rebound Margin: 3.3 (67, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (60, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.4 (93, 8)
Joel’s Bracket Says: First Round loss to New Mexico
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