San Francisco vs Cal Preview

San Francisco vs Cal Preview
(Photo: Christina Leung/USF Athletics)

The University of San Francisco men’s basketball team (7-1) looks to get back into the win column on Wednesday when they travel across the Bay Bridge to take on the California Golden Bears (2-4) at 11:00 p.m. ET at Haas Pavilion.

The game against Cal is the 77th in the history of the series, Cal owns a 46-30 advantage in the series that has been dormant for a decade. The Dons are 11-9 at home all-time against the Bears.

San Francisco fell to 7-1 following an 85-81 loss in the championship game of the Belfast classic to No. 21 Buffalo last Saturday. The 7-1 start is tied for the best start under third year head coach Kyle Smith who began the 2016-17 season 7-1 as well.

The Dons Well-Rounded Attack

Four players are averaging 10 or more points.

Charles Minlend (So.): 14.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists

Matt McCarthy (Sr.): 12.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 70 percent from the field

Jordan Ratinho (Jr.): 12.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 42 percent from 3-point land

Frankie Ferrari (Sr.): 12.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists

As you can see, the Dons pose an experienced group of players who will not be afraid to take on this Cal team.

Cal enters the contest — its third with a Bay area foe — after falling at Saint Mary’s on Saturday in a game that saw the Gaels shoot 60.0 percent to defeat the Bears, 84-71. Cal is 1-1 against its Bay Area brethren, taking a decisive 78-66 victory over Santa Clara on Nov. 26. Meanwhile, it’s been more than a decade since the Bears last faced San Francisco, topping the Dons in Nov. 2008.

Cal’s Starting Five

All five of the Bears starters average double-figures, but outside of this group they get very little help off the bench. If Cal wants to upset USF, these five players will need to produce at a great clip.

Paris Austin (Jr.): 15 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists

Justice Sueing (So.): 12.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 43 percent 3-point land

Matt Bradley (Fr.): 11.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 49 percent from the field, 72 percent from 3-point land

Darius McNeil (So.): 10.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals

Andre Kelly (Fr.): 10.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 63 percent from the field

The Cal Bears have a talented starting unit, who is young and inexperienced at this level. They do not get help from their bench-mates and are relied upon for all of the offensive and defensive firepower. One reason they have struggled to start the year.

All-time series

Wednesday’s game against the Golden Bears will be the 77th matchup in a series that unofficially for USF dates back to the 1913-14 season.  The first official game between the Dons and Golden Bears took place in the 1924-25 season when Cal defeated The Grey Fog 21-11.  All-time the Dons are 46-30 against the Bears. Their largest win against Cal took place on Dec. 3, 1976 when No. 10 USF defeated Cal 93-70 (+23).  The worst loss took place on the road when the Bears defeated the Dons 93-59 (-34) on Dec. 5, 1994.

Prediction

LINE: -6 San Francisco

This is considered a home game for the Bears, but USF travels well and is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the Bears arena. Cal has beaten bad mid-majors this season and lost to everyone else.

San Francisco gave a now Top 20-ranked UB Bulls team a run for their money in Ireland. They will look to beat their ‘bigger brother’ by more than double-digits.

San Francisco 76 Cal 60

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