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Basketball: UCSB game preview

TIPOFF: 8 p.m.  Tuesday at Haas Pavilion. TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/910 AM.

Having concluded the toughest stretch of its nonconference schedule — with losses to Wisconsin, UNLV and Creighton — the Bears face the first of their final three contests before the start of Pac-12 play. All three are at home and all three should net victories.

An interesting dynamic to follow in the days ahead is how coach Mike Montgomery divides his backcourt minutes. Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs rank among the conference leaders in minutes played, but they are so valuable to the offense their playing time isn’t likely to diminish much.

But Montgomery wants and needs more scoring options, and with freshman Tyrone Wallace beginning to emerge and sophomore Ricky Kreklow’s sore foot apparently on the mend, we could see some new combinations.

Senior Brandon Smith has started every game and gives the Bears experience, but he played just nine minutes against Creighton, while Wallace (27 minutes) and Kreklow (15) were on the floor more extensively.

Both provide elements the Bears need — energy, quickness and aggressiveness. Wallace had eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Kreklow, playing his first game after sitting for five, had little rhythm but is a defensive factor and should emerge some as a scorer.

Because Santa Barbara has no starter taller than 6-foot-8, it will be no surprise if Monty utilizes a four-man backcourt at times to maximize the Bears’ quickness and ability to score in transition. 

ABOUT THE GAUCHOS:  UCSB has lost to LSU, Illinois State, Boise State, Wyoming and San Diego State — teams with a combined record of 38-7 through games on Monday. Among its two D-I victories was an 83-80 overtime defeat of Santa Clara. … Sophomore C Alan Williams is averaging 23.7 points and 11.7 rebounds over the past three games, including a 29-point, 17-rebound performance vs. Santa Clara. … Freshman Taran Brown has double-doubles in seven of nine games, and a pair of 20-point efforts.

THE SERIES: Cal leads 9-0. The Bears won 70-50 last season as Justin Cobbs scored 25 points and Allen Crabbe contributed 19, and won 87-66 two years before that. Five of the previous seven meetings were settled by single-digit margins.

ETC: The Bears have lost their past three games and have dropped four in a row under coach Mike Montgomery just once — a stretch of conference games including Arizona and Washington during the 2010-11 season. … Despite coming off a 6 for 26 shooting performance in the loss to Creighton, Allen Crabbe continues to lead the Pac-12 in scoring at 21.0 ppg. … David Kravish’s 13 rebounds vs. Creighton were a season high and the third time this season he has pulled down double-digit rebounds.

WHAT’S NEXT: Cal plays Prairie View A&M at Haas Pavilion, Saturday, Dec. 22 at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 2 p.m.

Cal (6-3)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
SF Allen Crabbe 6-6 Jr. 21.0 5.8
PF Richard Solomon 6-10 Jr. 8.4 6.2
PF David Kravish 6-9 So. 6.3 8.4
SG Justin Cobbs 6-2 Jr. 17.8 4.0*
PG Brandon Smith 5-11 Sr. 3.8 2.8*
Key reserves
G Tyrone Wallace 6-3 Fr. 6.0 4.3
C Robert Thurman 6-10 Sr. 5.1 3.3
G Ricky Kreklow 6-6 So. 5.7 4.0

*Assists

UC Santa Barbara (4-5)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
C Alan Williams 6-7 S0. 17.2 9.4
F Taran Brown 6-8 Fr. 13.9 6.0
SG Michael Bryson 6-4 Fr. 5.8 2.6
SF Lewis Thomas 6-7 So. 3.0 4.1
PG Nate Garth 6-2 Sr. 5.2 4.0*
Key reserves
G Kyle Boswell 6-2 Jr. 11.7 2.2*
G T.J. Taylor 5-9 So. 3.0 2.3*
F Sam Beeler 6-10 Fr. 2.9 2.0

*Assists

Jeff Faraudo

  • gobears49

    My final comment from the Cal – Creighton thread is below.

    Am going to the game tonight with my kids and my girlfriend. May be the only game I’ll see this year. Looking forward to some good inside passing, followed by easy layups or dunks.

    ——————————————————————-

    Agree we don’t pass the ball into the post enough.

    I don’t think you need to run a set offense if you teach players enough variety to pass the ball around, particularly inside leading to easy shots, layups, or dunks. I think improvisation in effective passing can be learned with good practice drills, taught by a good coach.

    I think if someone closely analyzed the shots taken by Creighton and by Cal, Creighton had much more easier and essentially uncontested shots than Cal, as a percentage of all shots each team took. In my mind, that essentially was difference in the score. Same thing occurred in the Wisconsin game, but the game was such a rout the percentage of good, uncontested shots, didn’t make a difference. Again, I didn’t see the UNLV game. But I am going to the UCSB game. Looking forward to seeing some good passing in that game, leading to easy shots being taken.

  • joey

    I refuse to go to anymore college basketball games unless I know 100% that Greenstein is not officiating. He is so biased he ruins the games so I will spend my money elsewhere rather than watch crappy basketball games.

  • discdude

    This team has two scoring options right now, and one guy who is a good (but not great) passer. No guys like Kamp and Gut, who had great vision and ability to get the ball to the right guys at the right time.

    I think the real test, as it has been every year, is for Monty to maximize the talent that he has and see how far they can go. This team may actually be the 2nd best team in the P12, which ain’t saying much, but they can do some damage assuming they play as a team.

  • wehofx

    Disc, imo we actually have 3: Cobbs, Crabbe…and Wallace.

    But we really, really need someone to step up in the post: Kravish or Solomon. As Scotty Bear would say, “Get aggressive and Play with EXTREME PREJUDICE!”

    Feed the Post!

    Help the helper!

    Go Bears!

  • SteveNTexas

    UCSB is ranked 131 by Sagarin and Prairie View 295 -yeah we should beat them at home by 25 and 45 respectively.

    UNLV had an exciting game with UTEP but won by 2 when a last second 3 pointer by UTEP bouncded off the rim deep. UTEP is having a horrible year but has a top 20 recruiting class. Bennett scored 11 for UNLV.
    The Pac 12 is ranked as the 6th best conf which is better than last year.

  • discdude

    I hear ya on Wallace, love his game so far.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    Smith should be the 8th man, until then this team will struggle against good teams. There is NO reason for him to see the court for more than 8-12 minutes unless there is foul trouble. He does very little on either side of the ball and has regressed from the player he was 2 years ago, a player who understood his role and did NOT try to do too much. Hopefully Monty gives him a wake up call by benching him tonight. Hopefully we get 25-30 mins of both Wallace AND Kreklow.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Back when I was local and had season tickets, I had a very similar feeling about, then freshman, Bian Wethers, as I do about Wallace. Wethers was power to Wallace’s finese (very different players, in truth), but it’s their body control in the air above the paint that brings the comparison to mind.

    Wethers never quite reached the hieghts I hoped he would, but was a damn fine Bear, nonetheless. I see a really high ceiling on Wallace, higher than I thought for Wethers (it’s those blocks that get me most excited).

    Anyways, it’s a bit premature to consider him one of the scorers at this point. He’s got a lot to learn still, and there will undoubtedly be a few freshman mistakes along the way as well.

    ———————

    On throwing into the post, it’s always a good idea when done well.

    Made me laugh, though. Several times this season, I’ve gone “Now pass it out. It’s not there!” on several of the balls passed down low to Thurman. It looked hopeless each time. And yet, I think he converted on 4 or 5 out of the 6 times I wanted him to pass it back out. Go figure.

    Last point on this, a spiral develops when the post guys get too few looks. They tend to take a higher percentage of shots instead of passing it back out, to take advantage of their few opportunities. At which point, the guards start to think of them as black holes. So, they see less passes. And so it goes . . .

    There needs to be a concerted effort to feed the bigs. Not only does it keep them involved, but you make the opposing bigs play some D instead of saving it for their offensive possessions.

  • wehofx

    BlakeSt, B Smith started but Monty pulled him at what seemed like 2 minute mark. if that’s Monty’s way of honoring Seniors, fine with me a long as he keeps pulling him after 2 min.

    I hope his 9 minutes against Creighton is a wake-up call and he starts playing within himself again. I’d like to see B Smith’s minutes get up to 12, but no more than 15. Kreklow slowly get up to around 30. So, Crabbe and Cobb can get down to a more reasonable 31 or 32 down from their current 36/37 minutes. If not, come Pac 12 tourny time they’ll be thrashed just like Kamp and Gut were last year.

    Wisdom, Kravish, Solomon and Thurman aren’t ball hogs. imo, they pass it back out too much. I’d like to see the Bigs each put up closer to 10 shots a game – up from their 5ish – even if some are forces just to suck the D down to the low block.

    But, yeah, I know what you mean about the Thurminator, his shake, pivot and hook is like watching Frankenstein. It’s slo mo and awkward but it works.

    Go Bears! Beat the UCSB/torreadors???

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I don’t think they are ball hogs, it’s just a cycle that happens at points within the season for a team that doesn’t send it in often as part of the standard set play rotation.

    It blows my mind. It’s Monty’s staple. Yet, it just hasn’t happened much since MSF left. Goes back to the recruiting enigma of how a GREAT big man coach has not brought in much presence in the paint. Not knocking Solomon and Kravish, but they are both 4s. When Monty signed on, I thought it was a given the team would have an anchor C by year 3.

    —————–

    My idiotic cable has Pac12BA fine, but Pac12CA in “channel operating shortly” mode for 53 minutes now. Sigh.