Column: What to watch for tonight: Cal vs. OSU
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 18:02
Haas Pavilion, the site of tonight’s game, is 0.6 miles from Berkeley High School, where OSU freshman Langston Morris-Walker played his prep ball.
Robinson said that’s not necessarily a good omen.
“You’ve heard me say this before, no one ever plays well when they go home,” Robinson said. “But [Morris-Walker’s] progress up to this point has been terrific, so it’ll be interesting to see how the pressures of going home right when he’s playing well will affect him.
“He is a hard worker, he listens to what we say, he has gotten better every single day in practice. We need him to play well.”
Interesting. You don’t often hear a coach say he “needs” someone to play well two games after the player didn’t get off the bench — Morris-Walker did not play in last Wednesday’s win over UW.
I don’t think the Beavers “need” any of their freshmen to play well. They need their top contributors to play well.
If Morris-Walker thrives under the pressure of playing in front of hundreds of friends and family, then consider his contributions an added bonus. If he plays poorly, he won’t stay on the court — and it’s not like OSU can’t win with Morris-Walker on the bench.
Because of this, I think Morris-Walker’s return home is a low-risk, high-reward situation.
Cal’s offense, beyond
Crabbe and Cobbs
Cal has scored 443 points in seven conference games.
Junior guards Allen Crabbe (129 points) and Justin Cobbs (82) account for 211, or 47.6 percent, of those 443 points.
Outside of Crabbe’s 20 points per game (tops in the conference) and Cobbs’ 14.7 (10th in the conference), the Golden Bears don’t pose much of a threat offensively.
Robinson said the key to the game is stopping Crabbe and Cobbs.
“We have to limit the two guys who are averaging 20 and 15,” Robinson said. “If we limit those two guys, and then keep the other guys right where they are, we’ve got a good chance of winning the game.”
I’m not so sure I agree.
Crabbe and Cobbs have averaged 30 points in Cal’s three conference wins. In Cal’s four conference losses, the two averaged 30.3 points — virtually no difference. They’re going to get their buckets, whether Cal’s winning or losing.
The Golden Bears’ success is tied more to their third-through-fifth scorers. When those guys are held in check, Cal struggles.
Take freshman guard Tyrone Wallace, for example.
Cal is 3-0 in conference games when Wallace scores at least 10 points, and 0-4 when he doesn’t. He’s averaging 12.7 points per conference win and 5.3 points per conference loss.
So yes, I am saying Tyrone Wallace may have a bigger impact on tonight’s outcome than the conference’s top and 10th leading scorers.
Grady Garrett, managing editor