TIPOFF: 1 p.m. Sunday at Kohl Center, Madison, Wisc. TV/Radio: Big Ten Network/910 AM.
The Bears (6-0) begin the toughest stretch of their non-conference schedule when they take on the Badgers (4-3) at the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin has lost just 16 times since the start of the 2001-02 season.
Unbeaten but barely tested, Cal faces UNLV (5-1) and Creighton (7-1) in subsequent games at Haas Pavilion.
How good are the Bears?
“I think we’ve got talent. It’s a matter of us taking advantage of our talent and guys being able to be as good as they’re capable of,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said after the Bears beat Pacific to win the DirecTV Classic in Anaheim last Sunday. “We’ve got to know how to get Allen Crabbe shots, that’s a team thing.
“Turn that around, Allen knows he’s going to draw a lot of attention, so he’s going to be able to help get guys shots. If the guys understand that they aren’t going to make every shot, then we’re going to be a decent team.”
No one has exceeded expectations more than junior guard Justin Cobbs, who is averaging 20 points per game and shooting 63.5 percent from the field.
“He has gotten better, there’s not a question about that,” Montgomery said. ”He’s figuring out how to be effective. The mid-range game, he’s reluctant with, but in the last couple games he’s jumped up over a couple people and made the most of them.
“Sometimes he’s got to recognize how to immediately get the ball to the shooter. Justin’s been good. We’re kind of playing 7 guys right now, we need to expand that. I need to get some of these guys more rest. It’s hard on them, but we’re trying to win games, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
THE SERIES: Cal leads 5-2. Wisconsin beat Cal 66-63 in their most recent matchup, at the 1986 Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. The teams are meeting in Wisconsin for the first time in 54 years. The Badgers are 22-31 all-time vs. Pac-12 foes.
ON THE BADGERS: Wisconsin (4-3) has sustained losses to Florida, Creighton and Virginia. … The Badgers are 169-16 at the Kohl Center since Bo Ryan became coach in 2001-02. Their home winning percentage of .914 over that span is fifth-best in the nation. … The Badgers are tougher still against non-conference foes at home under Ryan: 85-7. … Junior G Ben Brust, at just 6-foot-1, leads the Big Ten in rebounding at 7.9 per game and already has three double-doubles. He is the only player shorter than 6-6 among the Big Ten’s top-10 rebounders. … The Badgers, averaging nearly 25 3-point field-goal attempts per game, are converting 35.5 percent from beyond the arc.
ETC: The Bears are hoping to open their season 7-0 for the first time since the 1994-95 season. Those wins, under coach Todd Bozeman, later were vacated because of NCAA violations. Before then, Cal had not started 7-0 since 1959. … Cal has outrebounded each of its first six opponents and has recorded at least 40 rebounds in four straight games for the first time since the 1997-98 season. … Allen Crabbe (22.0 ppg) and Justin Cobbs (20.0) rank 1-2 in the Pac-12 in scoring. … Sophomore G Ricky Kreklow (foot) is doubtful to play today.
WHAT’S NEXT: Cal plays UNLV at Haas Pavilion, Sunday, Dec. 9 at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 3 p.m. PST.
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||Jr.||22.0||5.5|
|PF Richard Solomon||6-10||Jr.||8.3||6.5|
|PF David Kravish||6-9||So.||5.8||8.7|
|SG Justin Cobbs||6-2||Jr.||20.0||3.7*|
|PG Brandon Smith||5-11||Sr.||4.7||3.0*|
|G Tyrone Wallace||6-3||Fr.||5.3||2.2*|
|C Robert Thurman||6-10||Sr.||5.3||3.7|
|G Ricky Kreklow||6-6||So.||6.5||5.0|
|C Jared Berggren||6-10||Sr.||14.7||6.4|
|PR Mike Brusewitz||6-6||Sr.||6.6||3.7|
|SF Ryan Evans||6-6||Sr.||10.1||6.9|
|SG Ben Brust||6-1||Jr.||12.3||7.9|
|PG Traevon Jackson||6-2||So.||5.3||2.6*|
|F Sam Dekker||6-7||Fr.||10.6||2.1|
|G George Marshall||5-11||Fr.||6.7||1.7|
|F Frank Kaminsky||6-11||So.||3.1||1.4|