California Golden Bears — Syracuse basketball scouting report

The Orange will take on the California Golden Bears on Saturday in the third round of the NCAA tournament in San Jose, Calif. Here’s a quick take on the game:

HOME TEAM ONLY IN NAME: Syracuse may be wearing their home white uniforms when they play Cal on Saturday night in the third round of the NCAA tournament, but they will only be the home team by name. The HP Pavilion is about 45 minutes from Berkeley, and the crowd will be heavy in favor of the Golden Bears. It will be similar to when Syracuse played in Albany during their 2003 national championship run. It certainly felt like a home game when Mike Montgomery’s squad—a heavy man-to-man team—played nearly 40 minutes of zone defense to upset fifth-seeded UNLV 64-61 on Thursday.

cal

Cal ran past UNLV

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Then again, this won’t be the first time SU has faced a hostile environment. “This is California, so the team from the University of California (is) going to have about 90 percent of their fans here,” Syracuse forward James Southerland said during SU’s media session on Friday. “I feel like it’s not going to be much of a problem for us. It shouldn’t be, because we played in great games like Arkansas and Louisville and pulled out a team with a No. 1 seed. So we are just going to focus on what we need to do.”

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN BEARS: Allen Grabbe leads the team in scoring with 18.7 ppg. He’s an athletic 6-6 guard that also averages 6.1 rebounds per game. True to form, he led Cal with 19 points and 9 rebounds in the win over UNLV. Justin Cobbs is the team’s second leading scorer at 15.4 ppg and has a team high 4.8 apg. But the Golden Bears aren’t a particularly good 3-point shooting team (30 percent) and also had its problems at the free throw line against UNLV, shooting 7-16.

» Related: SU a wildcard in the tourney

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse won the only matchup between the two teams on Nov. 19, 2009. Wes Johnson had 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Orange cruised to a 95-73 victory in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden.

GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 9:40 p.m. EST in the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. TV: TBS.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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