CU men's basketball preview: Cal
Matchup: Colorado Buffaloes (11-2) at Cal Golden Bears (9-3).
GAME TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. MST, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.
BROADCAST: Radio — 850 AM; TV — Pac-12 Networks.
COACHES: Colorado — Tad Boyle, sixth season (119-70, 175-136 overall); Cal — Cuonzo Martin, second season (28-18, 152-100 overall).
LEADERS: Colorado — Scoring: F Josh Scott, Sr., 18.4 ppg; Rebounding: Scott, 9.4 rpg; Assists: G Dom Collier, So., 3.5 apg. Cal — Scoring: G Tyrone Wallace, Sr., 15.5 ppg; Rebounding: F Ivan Rabb, Fr., 9.0 rpg; Assists: Wallace, 4.4 apg.
NOTABLE: Cal has won three of the past four meetings against CU and leads the all-time series 13-12. The Buffs have posted just one win in 11 games in Berkeley...Cal made 10 of 22 3-point shots in a road win against the Buffs last year...CU's league-opening road trip continues Sunday night at Stanford.
The Cal Golden Bears men's basketball team boasts the sort of roster that will keep many a coach awake at night.
Cal boasts a pair of freshmen in Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb who collected McDonald's All-American honors last year and have done little to diminish the lofty preseason billing that pegged the duo as the sort of players destined to be playing in the NBA before their collegiate eligibility expires.
The Bears also feature a heady senior guard in Tyrone Wallace, a player who provides steady leadership while also ranking eighth in the league in scoring 15.5 points per game and sixth in assists at 4.4 per game.
Those players certainly were highlighted in the scouting report compiled by University of Colorado head coach Tad Boyle this week as the Buffs prepared to open league play Friday night at Cal (9 p.m. MST, Pac-12 Networks). Yet the player who has caused Boyle the most intense headaches has been Bears junior sharpshooter Jordan Matthews.
"Jordan Matthews is a guy no one talks about, but he's the guy that really makes them go," Boyle said. "He's as good a shooter as there is in the league, maybe even the country. Every time he shoots it from three, you think it's going in. He's a terrific player as well."
Averaging 13.1 points per game, Matthews' cumulative total of 31 made 3-pointers is the second-best mark in the Pac-12. Although he ranks 12th in the league with a 3-point percentage of .419, none of the 11 players ranked ahead of Matthews — a list that includes CU's Dom Collier (third, .487), George King (fourth, .460), and Josh Fortune (eighth, .429) — has hoisted more 3-pointers than the 74 attempted by Matthews.
Brown and particularly Rabb have been equally impressive early in their collegiate careers, with Rabb already ranking among the league leaders in rebounding (9.0 per game) while also averaging 12.8 points per game. Brown ranks second on the Golden Bears' roster with 14.5 points per game and scored a team-leading 18 points in Cal's upset bid last week at No. 5 Virginia that fell one point short in overtime.
"They do a great job rebounding the basketball, and Tad does a great job of putting his guys in position to be successful," said Cal coach Cuonzo Martin, whose club topped CU 68-61 last year. "They'll rebound the ball, they'll score on the block, they're shooting the ball very well from three. They do a lot of different things, so it's not just one thing I think to beat those guys. You have to defend, you have to rebound, you have to execute offensively. They have...three guys shooting at a 40-plus clip (from 3-range) so you have to defend the three and you have to defend the block.
"It's one of those games that's going to be a total team effort, but I think you'll see that for every Pac-12 game."