California vs. Missouri
CBE Championship Final Round
Spread: MISS -2.5
Moneyline: MISS -145, CAL +125
Tip off: 7:15 PM EST
Betting Odds taken from Bodog
Last season, California posted the best offensive efficiency in the Pac 10 conference, despite only finishing 18-15 and losing in the second round of the NIT. They had just lost Patrick Christopher, Jerome Randle, and Theo Robertson, but they had three starters in Allen Crabbe, Hunter Kemp, and Makrhuri Sanders-Frison who all put up offensive ratings in the nations top 500. Crabbe was great from three point range, where he knocked down nearly 50% of his shots and he didn’t turn it over as much last year, either. Because of his vast improvement, it enabled California to have a winning record in the Pac-10.
Their defense is definitely suspect, though. They gave up more points than any other pac 10 team in conference play and because of that, they couldn’t win more than the 10 games they did win. They were just too offensively minded, in short. They gave up 1.10 points per possesion, which was the 10th in the conference.
They are predicted to have another .500 year by most college basketball pundits, but they should be able to build on last season’s quasi success story and build towards something maybe after this year. Losing Sanders-Frison will hurt a lot, but the team isn’t crippled quite yet becuase Jorge Gutierrez may be the best all around player in the PAC-10 and has been a great defender all along. He shot over 200 free throws last sesaon and while he isn’t the most effecient of shooters, he is very solid.
So far this season, Gutierrez is averaging 13.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 4.5 assists, while shooting 47.6% from the floor. He has scored in double figures in all games and had his high of 15 against George Washington, a game in which he put up 15 points. He hit 6 of 9 that night and also dished out 5 assits. His versatility makes him a possible Conference Player of the Year prospect.
Crabbe continues to make strides in his sophomore season. He started off the year looking like an All-American, putting up 24 points against UC Irvine, and 21 against George Washington, but he has since struggled, shooting 5 of 21 from the floor over his last two games against Austin Peay and Georgia. Over those two games, he scored only 14 points, though he did connect on 4 of 12 threes. He is going to have to find his groove and get back to 20+ point per game nights, though Cal has still won all four games against vastly inferior opponents.
Last season, Missouri lost in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to Cincinnati, by a score of 78 to 63. They finished the year with a 23-11 record and went 8-8 in Big 12 play.
They did force opponents to turn it over on 23% of their possesions, while surrendering it only 17% of their own possesions. They need to continue to control the pace of the game to continue that trend, and their ability to cause turnovers has created what can only be attributed to Mike Anderson’s insane defensive tactics. But Anderson has coached the likes of DeMarre Carroll, marcus Denmon, and Lawrence Bowers.
Denmon returns this year. The 2 guard is pretty underrated as far as exposure goes, as he posted the third best effective field goal perecentage in the Big 12 last year and also had the conference’s lowest turnover rate. He shot 44% from down town and 54% from inside the arc. He’s off to a phenomenal start this year, too, and scored 20+ points in three of the four Missouri games. He had 26 last game against Notre Dame, as he hit 9 of 11 shots from teh floor (including 2 of 3 from down town) and shot 6 of 7 from the line. He also grabbed four rebounds, though he failed to pick up any assists. He did it all in 25 minutes of play, which makes it even more impressive, as the Tigers beat the Irish by 27 points. In that game, three other Tigers players scored in double figures (guard Kim English, 10; guard Phil Pressey, 17; and Ricardo Ratliffe, 12). As a team, Missouri shot 58.2% from the floor while also hitting 18 of 21 from the stripe (85.7%).
Missouri has scored over 80 in all four of their games and has not given up more than 68 points so far.
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