Meet the Cal Bears: Pac-12’s Mystery Team
Losers of four of their last five games, the Cal Bears have shown a great deal of inconsistency—especially being that their one win in those five games was against the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats. The four losses: at the USC Trojans by eight, at the UCLA Bruins by 12, in overtime against the Arizona State Sun Devils and lastly the rivalry game against the Stanford Cardinal at home by 11.
The past five games can be applicable by Murphy’s law: everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It’s been primarily the offense’s fault this time around. Star guard Justin Cobbs has struggled from behind the arc this season, shooting under 30 percent. He is the primary target for opposing defenses this season which is not allowing him to blossom.
The offense is averaging just 68 points per game in their last five, a whole seven points below their 75 per game average on the season. The Bears also need to play defense, where they thrive at. In the Arizona game, they flat-out dominated that side of the court and made Arizona shoot jumpers which didn’t bode well for the Wildcats.
It’s going to be hard to gauge where the Cal Bears will be come tournament time — whether it be the NIT or the NCAA Tournament — but right now they are the most inconsistent team in the Pac-12. Luckily their next two games — on the road to the Washington State Cougars and the Washington Huskies, respectively — can give them a huge confidence boost as they beat both those teams earlier in the year by a total of 158-111.
Cal needs to be on the right track the next couple of weeks or a team that had a bright future and what looked to be a surprise-sweet-sixteen team will miss the tournament entirely. If by some chance Cal can get out of their funk, they will not be labeled as the mystery team of the Pac-12. They will be labeled as a tournament team with a lot of potential for upsets—just ask Arizona.
John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII