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Cal Basketball: Preview Box for Sunday's Game  at Utah

Golden Bears travel to Salt Lake City hoping to improve to 2-0 in Pac-12

Cal will be looking to start Pac-12 play 2-0 for the first time in six seasons when it faces Utah in Salt Lake City on Sunday at 2 p.m. Pacific time.

Cal is coming off a 73-61 victory over Oregon State in its conference opener on Thursday, while Utah lost its first Pac-12 game to USC 93-73 on Wednesday. Not only did the Utes lose that game, but their starting center, Branden Carlson, was injured and may not be available for Sunday's game.

Cal beat Utah in Salt Lake City last year, but lost to the Utes in Berkeley. This Utah team bears very little resemblance to last year's Utah squad, which is loaded with transfers under first-year coach Craig Smith.

"When you go on the road you have to avoid beating yourself," Cal coach Mark Fox said in the video atop this story.

The facts:

CAL (4-4, 1-0 Pac-12) at UTAH (5-2, 0-1 Pac-12)

WHERE: Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

WHEN: Sunday, 2 p.m. Pacific time.

TV: Pac-12 Networks -- Todd Harris (play-by-play) and Matt Muehlebach (analyst)

RADIO: 810-AM

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CAL-UTAH HISTORY: The alltime series is tied 18-18. The teams split their two games last season, with each winning on the opponent's home floor. Cal beat the Utes 72-63 in Salt Lake City, and Utah later defeated the Golden Bears 76-75 in Berkeley.

CAL STORYLINES: The Bears opened Pac-12 play with a 73-61 victory over Oregon State in Berkeley on Thursday. . . . Jordan Shepherd had 25 points for Cal in that game and made 3-of-4 three-point shots. Andre Kelly added 20 points and 13 rebounds, and he ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring (16.6 points), second in rebounding (9.6) and second in field-goal percentage (67.5%). Over the past four games, Kelly has made 77.4% of his field-goal attempts (24-for-31). Shepherd is averaging 14.6 points and hitting 37% of his three-pointers.  . . . The Bears are hoping to begin Pac-12 play 2-0 for the first time since 2015-16, when Cuonzo Martin was Cal's head coach. . . . The Bears rank second in the Pac-12 in three-point shooting percentage, at 35.2%, but are 10th in turnover margin, averaging 1.38 more turnovers than takeaways for the season. . . Cal is last in the Pac-12 in assists at 9.75 per game, and 11th in the conference in steals at 5.25 per contest. . . .Cal outrebounded Oregon State 42-24, and the plus-18 rebounding margin was they most by the Bears since they outrebounded Oregon State by 20 on Feb. 24, 2017. . . Eleven different players started games for Cal last season. This season the same five players have started all eight Cal games: Kelly, Shepherd, Grant Anticevich, Kuany Kuany and Joel Brown

UTAH STORYLINES: Craig Smith faces some injury problems in his first season as the Utes' head coach. The most significant injuries belong to 6-foot-5 Marco Anthony and 7-foot Branden Carlson. Anthony, a transfer from Utah State and the team's leading rebounder at 8.8 per game, has missed the past two games with an ankle injury and he is questionable for the game against Cal. Carlson, who is averaging 13.7 points and 6.1 rebounds, injured his ankle early in the game against USC, and is also questionable for the game against Cal . . . Several other Utah role players are out with injuries as well . . . The Utes have had a massive turnover from last year as nine players transferred out after Larry Krystkowiak was fired, and seven players transferred in . . . David Jenkins Jr., a transfer from UNLV, leads the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game. Both Gach, a transfer from Minnesota, is averaging 12.0 points and scored 28 points in Wednesday's 93-73 loss to USC. Rollie Worster, a transfer from Utah State, is averaging 9.0 points and 4.1 assists. . . . Utah has played a fairly soft nonconference schedule so far, with its best wins being against Tulsa and Boston College. Besides USC, Utah also lost to BYU . . The Utes don't commit many turnovers, but they don't force many turnovers from their opponents either. . . . Utah limits opponents to 40.5% shooting from the field, and it is particularly good defensively against three-points shots, allow opponents to make just 26.2% of their shots from long range.

CAL GAME NOTES: Click here

UTAH GAME NOTES: Click here

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Cover photo of David Jenkins Jr. by Jeffrey Swinger, USA TODAY Sports

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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