California Golden Bears (13-17, 7-10)
- Head Coach: Mark Fox (1st Season)
- Top Performer: Matt Bradley (17.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG)
- Points For: 63.5 PPG (395th)
- Points Against: 69.5 PPG (T-181st)
- Last Game/Streak: 90-56 Loss at Oregon (1L)
Saturday marks senior day in Corvallis, as the Oregon State program will send off it’s departing veteran duo of Tres Tinkle and Kylor Kelley in the team’s final regular season home game against California. The contest will also give the Beavers the chance to clinch win #17 on the season, which would tie the 2019-2020 edition of the team for the third-most wins in a season under head coach Wayne Tinkle.
So on paper, California and Oregon State competing for Pac-12 Tournament seeding doesn’t seem like all that important of a contest. But don’t tell anyone involved in the game (or Matt Luke forever) that there’s nothing to play for in this one.
California was completely overwhelmed in their last outing against Oregon, which leaves the Golden Bears a game ahead of Oregon State, Utah and Washington State in the Pac-12 standings. It’s simple math for California. Win and wrap up the #8 seed. Lose and things become difficult and muddy.
For the Golden Bears to snag that coveted victory, another big night will be needed from likely All-Pac-12 performer Matt Bradley (17.8 PPG), who despite California’s relative lack of success has been an outstanding individual piece. The sophomore guard scored 26 and 21 points respectively in the team’s upset of Colorado and win over Utah and is one of the tougher match-ups in the league because of his strength-and-skill mix.
Bradley partners with a duo of talented guards in Kareem South (8.9 PPG) and Paris Austin (8.8 PPG) to give Mark Fox a solid back-court to operate around. As the season has progressed, Fox has seen his roster change and fluctuate, especially with the losses of Juhwan Harris-Dyson (academics) and Jacobi Gordon (transfer). This has forced the first-year head coach to try out new pieces to find depth beyond his usual cast of forward Grant Anticevich (8.5 PPG) and Andre Kelly (7.7 PPG).
Seven-foot German freshman center Lars Thiemann (3.1 PPG) has been a sporadically used piece, as has guard Joel Brown (2.5 PPG), who dropped 11 points in the team’s defeat of the Utes. Forwards Kuany Kuany (1.9 PPG), who scored 9 points against Oregon, and DJ Thorpe (1.5 PPG), who has logged 23 minutes over his past two games, should see the floor as well.
But overall, it’s not hard to watch California and see that for all the great Fox has done for this program, there’s still tons of work to do going forward. The rotation is a mix-and-match outfit who has to play in a slower-tempo offense simply just to account for the heavy minutes usage of their top talents. Fox is working with what he has, but it’s not all that deep of a pile, as the program has been unable to hold onto players over the last handful of seasons.
For Oregon State, let’s hope that the Beavers can exploit the Golden Bears weaknesses and close out the season in Corvallis with a convincing victory.
Player To Watch
Matt Bradley (Guard - Sophomore)
Bradley is a well-built guard who has missed double-figures in scoring just once all-season, which was back on November 21st against Duke. The sophomore guard can be a match-up nightmare, as shown in his last outing against the Beavers, when he scored 23 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in a Golden Bears victory.
- Date: Saturday, March 7th
- Time: 1:30 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network