Cal Will Cool Off

Andrew KahnCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2009

I suppose this article would have seemed a lot more prophetic had I posted it yesterday afternoon. Or maybe it's more relevant now. You can decide that for yourself. Just allow me to tell you why the California Golden Bears are likely to hit a rough patch in the near future.

Of course, it's possible the near future is more like now, as Cal lost at home to Oregon State—yes, the Oregon State that hadn't won a Pac-10 road game since January of 2007—on Thursday night. While the Bears shot a respectable 11-24 from beyond the arc in that contest, it is likely they will cool off over the next few weeks.

California's three-point shooting percentage to date is a whopping 47%, easily the best in the country. The next best team is shooting 42.5% from downtown, a figure that usually leads the nation. Very rarely does a team ever shoot 43%. Yet halfway through the season, Cal is considerable over that mark.

Going into the Oregon State game, the Bears only had three players who had attempted more than 11 threes: Theo Robertson is 35/60 (58%), leading scorer Jerome Randle 40/84 (48%), and Patrick Christopher 26/63 (41%).

All three are juniors, and none of them have ever had this sort of success in their college careers. Robertson, however, did miss all of last season due to injury, so maybe he is a real sharp-shooter—but he's still not a 58% three point shooter.

What does this all mean? In all likelihood, it means Cal is going to cool off. One of the reasons I held off on posting this article earlier was because of Cal's schedule—with the two home games against Oregon State and Oregon, which is still winless in conference, I thought the Bears would still get by with poor shooting. But if last night was any indication, that won't be the case.

With a difficult stretch coming up after Oregon (at UCLA, at USC, Washington, Washington State are the next four), Cal may be in for a string of losses. Relying on the kind of gawdy three-point number Cal has put up so far is asking for trouble.