Cal vs Colorado Preview

Cal vs Colorado Prediction
(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

The Pac-12 Tournament is officially underway and one of the conferences hottest teams will look to make a run reminiscent of 2012. That ‘hot’ team is the Colorado Buffaloes (19-11, 10-8) winners of three straight and 8 out of their last 10 games. The Buffs came from the bottom of the conference to the fifth seed in a tournament that is considered wide open outside of the perennial favorite Washington Huskies.

For California (8-22, 3-15), the final three games of the regular season were a revelation. The team lost their first 15 conference games only to win the final three including a shocker over No.25 Washington. During Cal’s three-game win streak, the Bears are shooting 47.1 percent led by Connor Vanover who is averaging 17.3 points during their winning streak. Justice Seuing leads the team in scoring (14.5) , rebounding (6.1), and steals (1.7).

Colorado is honored…

Monday, Colorado sophomores McKinley Wright IV and Tyler Bey were named first-team all-Pac-12, making the Buffs one of only two teams — Washington being the other — with two players on the 10-member first team. Bey was also named the conference’s Most Improved Player, and he also reaped Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for his role in leading the Buffs to back-to-back wins over UCLA and USC. Wright, meanwhile, was named honorable mention all-defensive team.

“Well deserving,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “Any time you get all-conference honors, they are truly honors because they are voted on by your peer coaches. We cannot vote for our own players. I can’t vote for McKinley, I can’t vote for Tyler. They’re voted on by the other 11 coaches, so that when that comes out like that, it’s a great honor for them. It shows some respect those players have earned from their opposing coaches.”

Boyle understands the challenge Cal is about to give his team…

“I see a talented group of players that are resilient,” Boyle said. “We talk about youth, they don’t have a senior. They have guys that are really young and learning and are freshmen and sophomores and a couple juniors. … They have good players.”

But what Boyle has spent the last couple of days trying to impress upon his players is that the Bears will be coming into the game with some confidence in a tournament that just about anyone in the bracket is capable of winning — or at least posting an upset or two.

“It’s a new season for us and it’s a new season for Cal,” he said. “We’ve won three straight, they’ve won three straight. This is the time of year you throw records out the window because everybody’s zero and zero.”

Boyle, who is 8-0 in conference tournament openers with the Buffs, doesn’t want to be a victim of one of those upsets.

“I haven’t talked to our guys about (CU’s tourney opening streak), but it’s something our staff takes a lot of pride in,” he said. “I’ve always felt like in tournament play the teams that are tougher and that execute better and want to win more are the ones that usually do. It’s the toughness, it’s the want-to and it’s execution. You can’t go there and throw the ball all over the gym and not execute your stuff on offense and not know your assignments on defense. You just have to go with a grit and a toughness that we’re not going home.”

The Buffs won’t be packing for just one night in Las Vegas. Colorado won the first-ever Pac-12 tournament in 2012 by winning four games in a row, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since. While CU is by no means looking past Cal, they wouldn’t mind an extended stay.

“It’s win or go home time,” Boyle said. “The next loss we have, we’re coming home from Vegas. We want to hopefully extend thatstrip as long as we can. I know Cal does to and so does everybody else there.”

Last meeting

The Bears and Buffs met just once in the regular season, and Colorado took a 68-59 win in Berkeley on Jan. 24. Lucas Siewert scored 18 for Colorado, and Tyler Bey scored 17 points. Justice Sueing and Paris Austin led Cal with 13 points apiece.

Prediction

LINE: -10.5 Colorado

O/U: 136.5

Dan’s Bet:-10.5 Colorado

Score Prediction: Colorado 74 Cal 62

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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