Cal Basketball: Preview Box for Sunday’s Game in Utah


Cal will be looking to play Pac-12 2-0 for the first time in six seasons when he faces Utah in Salt Lake City on Sunday at 2 p.m. PT.

Cal comes off a 73-61 victory over Oregon State in its conference opener Thursday, while Utah lost its first Pac-12 game to USC 93-73 on Wednesday. Not only did the Utes lose that game, their starting center Branden Carlson was injured and may not be available for Sunday’s game.

Cal beat Utah in Salt Lake City last year, but lost to the Utes in Berkeley. This Utah squad looks very unlike last year’s Utah squad, which is chock-full of transfers under first-year coach Craig Smith.

“When you go on the road you have to avoid a fight,” Cal coach Mark Fox said in the video at the top of this story.

Facts:

CAL (4-4, 1-0 Pac-12) to UTAH (5-2, 0-1 Pac-12)

OR: Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

WHEN: Sunday, 2 p.m. PT.

TV: Pac-12 Networks – Todd Harris (play-by-play) and Matt Muehlebach (analyst)

RADIO: 810-AM

HISTORY OF CAL-UTAH: The all-time series is tied 18-18. The teams split their two games last season, each winning on the opponent’s field. Cal beat the Utes 72-63 in Salt Lake City, and Utah then beat the Golden Bears 76-75 in Berkeley.

CAL STORIES: The Bears opened the Pac-12 game with a 73-61 victory over Oregon State in Berkeley on Thursday. . . . Jordan Shepherd had 25 points for Cal in that game and had 3 of 4 three-pointers. Andre Kelly added 20 points and 13 rebounds, and he ranks third in the Pac-12 for score (16.6 points), second for rebounds (9.6) and second for field goal percentage ( 67.5%). In the last four games, Kelly has succeeded 77.4% of his field goal attempts (24v31). Shepherd is averaging 14.6 points and is hitting 37% of his three points. . . . The Bears hope to start the Pac-12 game 2-0 for the first time since 2015-16, when Cuonzo Martin was Cal’s head coach. . . . The Bears are second in the Pac-12 in three-point shooting percentage, at 35.2%, but are 10th in revenue margin, averaging 1.38 more in revenue than takeaways for the season. . . Cal is last in the Pac-12 in assists at 9.75 per game and 11th in the conference for steals at 5.25 per game. . . Cal topped Oregon State 42-24, and the plus-18 rebound margin was the Bears’ highest since passing Oregon State by 20 on February 24, 2017. . . Eleven different players started games for Cal last season. This season, the same five players have started all eight games for Cal: Kelly, Shepherd, Grant Anticevich, Kuany Kuany and Joel Brown.

UTAH STORIES: Craig Smith faces injury issues in his first season as head coach for the Utes. The most significant injuries are those of Marco Anthony (6ft 5in) and Branden Carlson (7ft). Anthony, a Utah State transfer and the team’s top rebounder at 8.8 per game, missed the last two games with an ankle injury and he is questionable for the game against Cal. Carlson, who is averaging 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds, injured his ankle early in the game against USC, and is also questionable for the game against Cal. . . Several other Utah role players are also injured. . . The Utes have seen massive turnover compared to last year, with nine players transferring after Larry Krystkowiak’s sacking and seven players transferring to. . . David Jenkins Jr., a transfer from UNLV, leads the team with 14.7 points per game. The two Gachs, a transfer from Minnesota, are averaging 12.0 points and scored 28 points in Wednesday’s 93-73 loss to USC. Rollie Worster, a transfer from Utah state, is averaging 9.0 points and 4.1 assists. . . . Utah have played a fairly loose non-conference schedule so far, with their best wins being against Tulsa and Boston College. Besides USC, Utah also lost to BYU. . The Utes don’t commit a lot of turnovers, but they don’t impose a lot of turnovers on their opponents either. . . . Utah limits their opponents to 40.5% of shots from the field, and he’s particularly good defensively against three-pointers, allowing opponents to make just 26.2% of their shots from long range.

CAL GAME NOTES: Click here

UTAH PLAYING NOTES: Click here

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Cover photo of David Jenkins Jr. by Jeffrey Swinger, USA TODAY Sports

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