The California Golden Bears (0-5) will take on the TCU Horned Frogs (3-1) in the second round of the Emerald Coast Classic on Friday. The game will be played in Niceville, Florida at 8:30pm CT. Both teams have had struggles to begin the season, but which will take the first step in correcting course?
Cal Suffers Worst Season Start for Program in 115 YearsThis is the worst start to a season for the Golden Bears in over a century. California is looking like one of the weakest teams in the country.
Looking at their statistical profile, the only bright spot is that they rank in the top 50 in blocks per game. That's a little more impressive considering Cal is one of the slowest teams in the nation, 343rd out of 363 rosters in Pomeroy's adjusted tempo.
As I said, that's the only bright spot. They also rank bottom 50 in assists per game, likely a contributing factor to their 41.06 field goal percentage, 286th among DI schools. They also foul way too much for a team that plays so slow, tied for 243rd with 18.6 personal fouls per game.
TCU Looks to Recover from Early Season EmbarassmentTCU fans should not be happy with how this season has started. They started the season ranked #14 before slipping one spot to #15 in week two. After being upset by Northwestern State on the 14th, they fell out of the top 25 entirely.
That being said, they had a strong bounce-back performance versus UL Monroe in their campus game last week. The team tallied 10 blocks while holding their opponents to 30% shooting. They should be motivated to earn their way back into the AP rankings (they earned 82 points in the week 3 poll compared to #25 Iowa's 132).
It isn't all doom and gloom for the program. They still rank 42nd in ESPN's BPI (Basketball Power Index). They're still in the top 65 for offensive efficiency and top 40 for defensive efficiency in Pomeroy's adjusted stats.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
TCU has so many advantages in this matchup it's not even funny. The most glaring gap between these teams is in the rebounding department. The Horned Frogs are ranked 21st with 42.5 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, the Golden Bears grab 32.8 boards per contest, tied for 302nd among DI teams.
TCU plays fast and crashes the boards extremely well. That alone will be more than enough to cover the spread against a disappointing Cal.
Full-Game Total Pick
TCU plays like one of the faster teams in the country, ranking in the top half at 121st in adjusted tempo. The over has hit in three of their four games this season. It also wouldn't be surprising to watch their defensive effort wax slightly after clamping UL Monroe, which could give the Golden Bears some scoring opportunities.
Expect TCU to have their way against an overmatched Cal roster.