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Cal vs. Duke preview: Why rebounding is so important for the Golden Bears

Nick Kranz over at California Golden Blogs has weighed in with his keys to the California Golden Bears beating the Duke Blue Devils today and the big one is pretty obvious: rebounding.

1. Win the battle of the board

Last year, Duke was one of the few teams to out rebound Cal. Duke won by 14. Those two sentences are not in the least bit coincidental. Last year, it was nearly impossible for Cal to win games without pulling down more rebounds. It's what they are built to do, and although this is a different team with new players, I suspect that rebounds are still the absolute key.

The most significant aspect of the rebounding battle will be the offensive boards, where Cal has really dominated other teams in recent years and has one of the nation's best in athletic 6-foot-2 forward Gennifer Brandon: even against Long Beach State in their season opener on Friday night, Cal struggled to get high percentage shots in the paint without doing so off of offensive rebounds. With 6-foot-3 Duke center Elizabeth Williams patrolling the paint today, it doesn't figure to get any easier.

For more on the matchup - including perspective on what Duke has to do to win - check out our Cal-Duke storystream.