Scouting report: California
Game info: 8 p.m. Wednesday at Haas Pavilion in Berkley, Calif. (11,877 capacity)
TV: ESPNU (Beth Mowins and Jon Crispin)
Radio: KJR 950 AM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton)
Coach: Mike Montgomery is 668-306 in his 31st season as a college basketball coach. He was 154-77 in eight seasons at Montana, 393-167 in 18 seasons at Stanford and 121-63 in six seasons at California. Montgomery is fourth on Cal’s all-time coaching wins list. He’s also fourth in the Pac-12 with 275 career conference victories. Montgomery is ninth on the all-time wins list for active Division I coaches. He’s a two-time national coach of the year winner and four-time recipient of the Pac-12 coach of the year award. Montgomery also spent three seasons in the NBA and compiled a 36-48 record with the Golden State Warriors.
Prediction: Picked to finish fifth in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: The series, which began Jan. 14, 1916, is tied 78-78. Washington is 4-9 in Berkeley, Calif. under coach Lorenzo Romar. He is 12-12 against Cal, including a 1-1 record when he was at Saint Louis.
Last meeting: Due to the Pac-12’s unbalanced schedule, the teams met just once last season and Washington dominated 62-47 on Jan. 9, 2013 at Haas Pavilion. Tied 18-18 midway in the first half, the Huskies went on a 16-0 run to surge ahead 34-18. UW led 34-20 at the break and was never seriously threatened in the second half. C.J. Wilcox scored 19 points and Aziz N’Diaye finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
Previous game: California won 88-83 at Oregon State last Saturday. Trailing 45-35, the Bears used an 18-7 run to start the second half, taking a 53-52 lead with 14:04 left. After three lead changes, Wallace dunked to give Cal the lead for good, 62-61 with 10:38 remaining.
— It’s easy to forget about Justin Cobbs because the Pac-12 is loaded with a plethora of high-scoring guards ranging from Roberto Nelson, C.J. Wilcox, Jahii Carson, Kyle Anderson, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jordan Adams. Still, if you had to rank the best guards in the conference, then Cobbs would merit strong consideration to be among the best in the league.
The 6-3, 190-pound senior is an all-conference pick the past two years after transferring from Minnesota where he played one season. Cobbs is a three-year starter. He ranks sixth on Cal’s all-time assists list and 29th in scoring.
His 6.4 assist-per-game average ranks second in the Pac-12 and is tied for 11th nationally. Cobbs leads the Bears with a 15.1 scoring average. He a below-average three-point shooter (23.8 percent), but he’s deadly at the free throw line (82.9 percent). His season scoring high is 31 points.
Against Washington last year, the Huskies held him to nine points on 4-for-15 shooting in 37 minutes.
Cobbs won the Pac-12 player of the week award on Monday.
— When senior Richard Solomon plays well, Cal usually plays well. He’s been a finesse player most of his career, but the Bears have needed the 6-10 forward provides a tough, inside presence. This season he’s been more consistent than ever before. He’s the only Pac-12 player averaging a double double (12.1 points and 10.2 rebounds).
Solomon shoots 56.3 percent from the field.
— California is playing its first Pac-12 home game.
— Five players average at least 11 points, which makes it difficult to defend Cal. The Bears average 76.4 points.
— Cal returns three starters, including junior David Kravish. The Golden Bears lost leading scorer and Pac-12 player of the year winner Allen Crabbe, who left school after his junior and was taken in the NBA draft.
— Kravish has started the past 70 games dating back to his freshman year. The 6-9 forward is a sensational shooter. He shoots 56.0 from the field, 87.5 percent on free throws and 50 percent on three-pointers.
— Freshman guard Jabari Bird, a McDonald’s All-American last year, has missed the past four games due to an ankle injury. He’s expected to play Wednesday.
— Junior guard Ricky Kreklow has missed the past five games due to a broken hand. He’s not expected to play Wednesday.
— Freshman Jordan Mathews replaced Bird and Kreklow in the starting lineup. Mathews scored a career-high 32 points against then-No.17 Oregon last Thursday at Matthew Knight Arena. It’s tied for the third-most points by a freshman in a Pac-12 road game in conference history. Former Cal star Shareef Abdur-Rahim (at Washington State, Jan. 25, 1996) and Arizona State’s Jahii Carson (at Washington, Feb. 2, 2013) also had 32 points in a road game. Only USC’s O.J. Mayo (37 at ASU, Mar. 1, 2008 and 34 at Cal, Jan. 3, 2008) and Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson (34 at ASU, Mar. 5, 2011) had more points as a freshman in a league road contest.
— Injuries have forced Cal to use five lineups. The starters (below) are undefeated in the past four games.
F – Richard Solomon, 6-10, 235, Sr., 12.1 ppg., 10.2 rpg., 1.5 spg., 1.4 bpg. 56.3 FG%
F – David Kravish, 6-9, 221, Jr., 11.9, 7.6, 1.8 bpg., 56.0 FG%, 87.5 FT%, 50.0 3-FG%
G – Tyrone Wallace, 6-5, 190, So., 11.8, 4.4, 3.3 apg., 1.4 spg., 62.3 FT%
G – Jordan Mathews, 6-3, 195, Fr., 8.6, 2.7, 19.2 mpg.
G – Justin Cobbs, 6-2, 190, Sr., 15.1, 2.8, 6.4 apg., 82.9 FT%