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Game Preview: #5 Virginia hosts Cal Tuesday night in JPJ

virginia basketballFifth-ranked Virginia faces Cal from the Pac-12 on Tuesday night in a late game – a rare 9 p.m. start.

The Golden Bears (9-2) in some ways resemble UVA’s most recent opponent, Villanova, in employing a four-guard lineup.

What’s different is the top-level talent that coach Cuonzo Martin puts on the floor. Freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb are both projected top-five picks in next year’s NBA Draft, assuming that they would go the one-and-done route.

And neither is the team’s leading scorer. That honor goes to senior point guard Tyrone Wallace, who averages 16.8 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and a team-leading 4.8 assists per game.

Brown’s numbers are actually a bit pedestrian considering his prodigious skill set – 13.9 points per game, 5.4 rebounds per game, 41.1 percent shooting from the field, 26.5 percent shooting from three and 61.8 percent shooting from the foul line.

Rabb, a 6’10” center, averages 12.7 points and 8.5 rebounds and is shooting 66.3 percent from the field and 75.6 percent from the line.

The Bears, like ‘Nova, shoot a lot of shots from behind the three-point arc – 42.6 percent of Cal’s field-goal attempts are threes. They don’t shoot them all that well – 33.0 percent through 11 games.

Defense has been a challenge some nights: Cal ranks 68th nationally, according to KenPom.com, in defensive efficiency, allowing .976 points per possession.

 

Cal: Other players to watch

  • Jordan Matthews scores 12.0 points per game and is shooting a team-best 37.9 percent from three-point range.
  • Jabari Bird has started six games, but has settled into the role of sixth man of late, adding punch (9.8 points per game) off the bench.