California looks to regain some momentum in the Pac-12 this week as they face Washington tonight but they’ll have to do it without guards Brandon Smith and Ricky Kreklow, who’ve battled injuries the last month.
Smith, a senior, has missed the previous three games due to concussion symptoms while Kreklow has only played five games this year battling complications from surgery on his foot. Smith’s injury has been a bigger problem for Cal as he’s the team’s backup point guard.
Both injuries have made the Golden Bears thin on the perimeter yet I don’t think it’s going to hurt them against Washington too much. As long as they have Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs starting, that means teams have to focus on stopping two solid scorers.
As for Washington? They struggled in non-conference play but after narrowly beating instate rival Washington State last week, they could give Cal a tough game. The Huskies have great scoring guards of their own in leading C.J. Wilcox and Scott Suggs.
Speaking of guards, I had to admit I was surprised to see that Abdul Gaddy is averaging almost many turnovers (3.4) as assists (3.8) considering he had a lot of hype coming out of high school three years ago. I thought Gaddy would be the next great find of the Northwest but it seems like his career has been a disappointment.
The defending Pac-12 regular season champs are struggling mightily and considering what I usually expect from a team that always contends, this could be an easy win for Cal or a close match between underachieving teams. My pick? Cal wins this one at home.