Taking a quick whirl around the internet this morning, these are some of the more interesting game-day stories I could find on UNLV—Cal.
In this story from the San Jose Mercury News, Oregon coach Dana Altman has a unique perspective, given that his team played both UNLV and Cal this season. Oregon beat UNLV at the Thomas and Mack Center early in the year, but lost both games against Pac-12 rival Cal.
Altman is of the opinion that the role players won’t decide the game, instead pointing to each team’s stars as the true barometer:
Oregon coach Dana Altman, whose Ducks played both teams this season, said Thursday’s NCAA tournament game between Cal and UNLV still is likely to be decided by the star players.
Both teams are improved, Altman said, but Cal’s Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs and Runnin’ Rebels star freshman Anthony Bennett are the difference-makers.
“Crabbe and Cobbs are tremendous competitors and awfully good,” Altman said Wednesday during news conference before Thursday’s games at HP Pavilion. “Getting those guys under control is essential to beating them.”
This John Crumpacker story from the San Francisco Chronicle echoes a similar point, quoting Cal coach Mike Montgomery on how the Golden Bears hope to slow down Anthony Bennett.
From Crumpacker’s piece:
When Cal faced UNLV on Dec. 9 at Haas Pavilion, Runnin’ Rebel Anthony Bennett was eight games into his freshman basketball season, well known to those who follow prep recruiting but still a blank canvas as a college player.
What a picture he ended up painting.
“I think he surprised us with how good he was,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery said. “He’s a very good shooter for a guy his size … and he’s big and strong. We’re going to have to do a better job. It won’t be the same as last time.”
If it is, Cal’s stay in the NCAA Tournament will be a brief one.
And this post from Cal blog CaliforniaGoldenBlogs.com has a nice roundup of media picks for today’s game. Nine of 12 CBS writers are taking UNLV to advance, while two of four SI.com writers like Cal to pull the upset.
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