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It’s no secret that Cal men’s basketball is in crisis. The bears are the last to sit dead in the Pac-12 with a conference record of 2 to 12, and with six games left they already have more conference losses than all of last season. With the Blue and Gold hoping to revive their season, they are hosting the source of their only road win this season: Utah.
Cal enters the competition, hoping to score a loss in six games, the longest in the Mark Fox -Era. A win would bring it directly over the Utes three times and return to an overtime win for the bears in the Haas Pavilion last season.
These teams have gone very different ways since they left in January. Utah beat Washington State, Colorado and Arizona 3-1, while Cal didn’t take a single win. The good news for those following the Bears is that junior guard Matt Bradley, who missed the first game against the Utes with an ankle injury, has now returned and appears to be returning to his normal, high-profile self. p> Cal’s odds depend on how well the team can defend themselves against Utah’s Timmy Allen. The junior striker averages almost 17 points per game. The last time these two teams competed, Allen scored 26 points, six rebounds and five assists. The bears’ defense, however, still forced Allen to turn seven.
Blue and gold are no strangers to offensive combat, but their defense has usually been consistent since Fox arrived at Berkeley. This was a little different this year as the Bears defense had a number of fights, particularly against tall, long-range strikers like Oscar da Silva and Evan Mobley.
« Go back to a year ago – we were defensive better and we weren’t any bigger, « said Fox. « We have the same people, so we have to play smarter and be a bit more physical than us. »
Blue and Gold fit pretty well on the defensive against the Utes and have to show a solid and consistent defense when they do Want to leave the Haas Pavilion with a win. Cal often gives up runs at the end of the first half or the beginning of the second, leaving the team in a hole for the remainder of the game. « This group is being challenged offensively for a while in rebuilding, » said Fox. « But if you build that into the ground, your defense has to be stable, and this year I couldn’t find that stability on the defensive. »
It may feel like this season is almost over, but it does there is still a lot of basketball to play – including four home games for the bears. If Cal can find his rhythm against Utah defensively, there should be much to save for the rest of the year
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