NorCalNick, from Cal Golden Blogs, once again asks the hard questions for our 1289th annual Battle of The Bay question-a-thon. Here are his Q’s and C and R’s answers. Questions to CGB are below, answers tomorrow.
1. Stanford is the #2 team in the country and in the RPI. They’re basically a stone-cold lock for the #1 seed in the Fresno region of the NCAA tournament. Since there’s nothing on the line, wouldn’t it be nice to do us Cal fans a favor and maybe rest up an Ogwumike or two on Sunday in preparation for the tourney?
C and R: Sure, I can guarantee two of the Ogwumikes will rest and won’t play the Cal game. They are Erica and Olivia, the younger high school sisters! No, we think Tara wants to make a statement, every game, so the college Ogwumikes will play. She’s been especially testy after the whole East Coast-West Coast Bias thing. And according to ESPN’s Carolyn Peck, Stanford is not necessarily a lock for the number one seed in the west.
2. At Maples, Stanford’s defensive strategy seemed to be to pack the paint and hope that Brittany Boyd and Layshia Clarendon wouldn’t make jump shots. Do you expect Tara to employ a similar strategy, or shake things up?
C and R: Well, Tara VanDerveer is a basketball genius and likes to deploy different defenses at various times. Look for what C and R call man-to-man help. The defense is a straight up man-to-man, and if your player blows by you, you yell for help from Nneka or Chiney Ogwumike! Anyone can play D when Nneka has your back.
3. Stanford has been followed all season by ESPNW, who has given the team the ‘all-access’ treatment. Has the harsh glare of the camera lens transformed the players into divas too distracted to focus on the court yet? If not, it’s going to happen soon, right?
C and R: Divas!! Chiney Ogwumike was born with a microphone in her hand. Her tribute to her older sister after the game on senior night had everyone rolling on the floor (apparently Nneka’s exuberant energy landed them in private school). If ESPN wasn’t following Stanford around, Tara would have to invent some ways for Chiney to “express” herself. Oh, wait, Stanford has, with these Real Ladies of Maples Videos, and occasional music videos. Got Bounce was last year and this year’s musical selection is being edited and is tentatively titled “Revenge of the Nerds.
4. Since winning in OT over Cal, Stanford has won every single game by at least 13 points. Did those blowouts tell you anything new about your team?
C and R: It’s weird, and this may sound like spoiled fans, but the blowouts really weren’t. Most of the games were always close at the half, and until Nneka and Chiney took over in the second, the game was in doubt. However, we are happy to say the last few games Jos Tinkle has stepped up and provided some much needed scoring, along with great guard play from Toni Kokenis and freshman Amber Orrrrange. Double however we are unhappy to say this new offensive look we have seen in the last few games looks weird and causes the Cardinal to have a slow start.
5. How worried are you about losing Nneka for 2013? On one hand, Stanford loses great players more or less yearly without skipping a beat. On the other hand, the Cardinal seem just a bit more reliant on Nneka than some of the other stars of the past.
C and R: We are sooooo worried. See question 4. Nneka really has, at times, carried the team this year. Chiney is a great weak side rebounded and scorer, but she needs someone to take good shots, which she gets in Nneka. Plus there is some sort of sister ESP-thing going on that allows Chiney to be in just the right spot at the right time and know exactly where the ball is going to go on a rebound when Nneka shoots. She won’t have that comfort next year. It’s been a bit of a relief to see others step up in scoring, and hope that continues to next season.
6. Any predictions (about the game or otherwise?)
C and R: Well we think the Ground Hog saw his shadow so we predict six more weeks of winter. We also predict Nneka and Chiney will rise to the occasion and pull out the win! Sorry CGB.
Questions for Cal Golden Blogs:
1. Cal is 13-2 in the last 15 games, and won their last 4 in a row. They are definitely surging. What explains said surge?
2. Cal has been projected as a number 7 seed for the NCAA tournament (Yay!) and if they win their first game would meet Tennessee (Boo!). What does Cal need to do to have a deep run in the tourney?
3. Now that Stanford freshmen Amber Orrrrange (no really, it’s not typo, it’s spelled with 4 “r”s, just like you pronounce it), has been inserted into the Stanford lineup, do you anticipate Amber going up against Cal’s freshmen guard Brittany Boyd? And if so, what will the outcome be?
4. Tara VanDerveer has publicly stated she thinks Cal should be a top-25 team after the Overtime victory over Cal, and went to the media to blast the Pac-12 against detractors. Why didn’t Coach Gottleib chime in on the record to defend the Pac-12 honor and call out the haters?
5. For senior day, Cal has no seniors. First of all, why? And second, Coach Gottleib has said she will enjoy giving Nneka a big bouquet of flowers. What are the chances she will offer, say an Ipad or a car to convince Nneka to fake a sore throat and sit?
6. A train leaves Palo Alto at 6:00 PM traveling East at 80 mph. A second train leaves Berkeley 3 hours later at 100 mph heading West on the same track. How big will the explosion have to be to get the East Coast Media to recognize we play basketball out here in California?