Former left tackle Mike Tepper is back in Berkeley now after a week of scrutiny from NFL personnel. Tepper played for the West team during Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, Fla., which the East won 13-10 on a touchdown pass in the final seconds.
It’s Monday — time again to try making sense of this jumble . . .
— By Sunday night, at the halfway point of the Pac-10 schedule, Cal could find itself at 7-2 and at least two games ahead of the herd, or 5-4 and as far down as fifth place. More likely, somewhere between those two extremes.
— You can make the argument that the three Pac-10 teams with the best showing last week were Arizona, UCLA and Stanford . . . historically speaking, the Pac-10’s usual suspects. Among them, the Wildcats seem most likely to keep it going, with two home games this weekend.
— Still winless in six games played outside the city limits, Washington may be reaching the point where its best hope of reaching the NCAA Tournament is to petition that the Pac-10 tournament be moved to Seattle.
Cal remains the highest-rated Pac-10 team in both computer polls, although to be fair this achievement doesn’t exactly rate up there with the school boasting 20 Nobel Laureates.
— CollegeRPI.com: Cal is No. 26, thanks to its strength-of-schedule ranking of No. 3. The rest of the Pac-10: 60. Arizona, 63. USC, 75. Washington, 81. ASU, 97. WSU, 120. Stanford, 133. UCLA, 159. Oregon, 202. OSU. The RPI top 5: 1. Syracuse, 2. Kansas, 3. Duke, 4, Villanova, 5. West Virginia. Also: 35. Saint Mary’s.
— Sagarin ratings: The Bears are No. 34. The rest of the Pac-10: 53. ASU, 59. USC, 78. Washington, 81. ASU, 87. WSU, 105. Stanford, 121. Oregon, 128. UCLA, 174. OSU. The Sagarin top 5: 1. Kansas, 2. Syracuse, 3. Duke, 4. Texas, 5. Villanova. Also: 32. Saint Mary’s.
— AP Top-25: No Pac-10 team for the third straight week. Cal got two votes — the only mention of a team from the Pac-10. The AP top 5: 1. Kentucky, 2. Kansas, 3. Villanova, 4. Syracuse, 5. Michigan State. Click here for the AP and ESPN/USA Today rankings.
— ESPN/USA Today Top-25: Again, no sign of the Pac-10, with the Bears getting two votes among the also rans. The ESPN/USA Today top 5: 1. Kentucky, 2. Kansas, 3. Villanova, 4. Syracuse, 5. Michigan State.
— NCAA Bracketology projections on ESPN.com: Joe Lunardi has Cal seeded No. 9, facing No. 8 Missouri in Milwaukee, with the winner taking on Kentucky. ASU secures a No. 12 seed as Lunardi’s last team in the field. Saint Mary’s is a No. 10, according to his projections, and would play New Mexico in Milwaukee. (The Bay Area takes Milwaukee by storm). Lunardi’s No. 1 seeds: Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Villanova. Here’s Lunardi’s full bracket projection.
Both ESPN.com and scout.com are reporting that Long Beach Poly wide reciever Kaelin Clay committed to Cal during his recruiting trip in Berkeley over the weekend. Clay is rated as the 53rd-best receiver in the country by rivals.com.
Wasn’t everyone watch the NFL playoffs anyway?
THE NATIONAL SCENE
Herb Pope scored 19 points and Seton Hall handed No. 9 Pitt (15-4) its second straight defeat, 64-61. Ashton Gibbs scored 23 points for Pitt, but missed two late 3-point shots that could have tied the score . . . Chris Singleton scored a career-high 23 points and Florida State (15-4) claimed a 68-66 win over No. 19 Georgia Tech (14-5) . . . Jordan Taylor scored 18 of his 20 points at end of regulation and in overtime, leading No. 18 Wisconsin (16-4) to a 79-71 win over Penn State.
Dan Mavraides (San Mateo-Serra HS) had 12 points and Princeton beezed to an 88-35 win over someone called Goucher.
Here’s my story from this morning’s editions on how Cal subdued stubborn Oregon State to move into sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 standings.
This morning’s computer rankings, courtesy of RealtimeRPI.com, have the Bears at No. 24 (with a No. 2 strength-of-schedule rating), and no other Pac-10 team in the top 55.
But don’t get too excited, Cal fans, because there is a five-way logjam for second place in the conference, just one game back of Cal. And the Bears play four of them on the road the next two weeks.
Here’s the upcoming gauntlet:
— Thursday: at Arizona State, 5:30 p.m.
— Sunday: At Arizona, 12:30 p.m.
— Thursday, Feb. 4: at USC, 7:30 p.m.
— Saturday, Feb. 6: at UCLA, 1 p.m.
Golden Bears are in first at 5-2, but five teams are just one game back . . .
AROUND THE PAC-10
— Arizona 79, Arizona State 58: Freshman forward Derrick Williams had 20 points and seven rebounds and sophomore guard Kyle Fogg contributed 20 points and five assists as the Wildcats (10-9, 4-3) knocked the Sun Devils (14-6, 4-3) out of first place. Nic Wise added 16 points for Arizona. Rihards Kuksiks scored 15 for ASU, which shot just 31 percent and had a four-game win streak snapped.
— UCLA 74, Washington State 62: The Bruins (9-10, 4-3) got 19 points and nine rebounds from freshman Nelson Reeves and 18 points from Nikola Draogovic to complete a weekend home sweep. Freshman Reggie Moore scored 24 points for the Cougars (14-6, 4-4), but Pac-10 scoring leader Klay Thompson was held to 13 points on 5-for-17 shooting and had five turnovers.
— Stanford 84, Oregon 69: The Cardinal (10-9, 4-3) stayed unbeaten in four Pac-10 home games and remained just one game out of the lead, thanks to their 24th consecutive home victory over the Ducks (10-9, 2-5). Senior forward Landry Fields scored a caraeer-high 32-point, and had eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Jeremy Green had 25 for the Cardinal. The Ducks, who have dropped five straight, got 16 points from Tajuan Porter.
— USC 87, Washington 61: Will the defending Pac-10 champion Huskies (12-7, 3-5) ever win a road game this season? USC (12-7, 4-3) had five players score in double figures, led by Marcus Johnson’s 22 points. UW, 0-5 outside Seattle, shot just 37 percent. Star senior Quincy Pondexter was 1-for-10.
— Pac-10 standings: Cal 5-2, Arizona 4-3, Arizona State 4-3, Stanford 4-3, UCLA 4-3, USC 4-3, Washington State 4-4, Washington 3-5, Oregon 2-5, Oregon State 2-5.
FINAL SCORE: Cal 65, OSU 61. Robertson made two FTs with 10.1 seconds left and Haynes missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left, rebound to Gutierrez. Cal is 13-6, 5-2, a half-game ahead of ASU in first place. Sun Devils play Arizona tonight. Randle had 14 points, but turned the ball over four times in the final 5 minutes. Robertson scored 14 — all in the second half. Boykin had 12 points and nine rebounds. Amoke nine points and more good energy. Christopher eight points. Haynes scored 25 for OSU (8-11, 2-5) and Cunningham, the San Leandro HS kid, had a career-high 18 in his homecoming.
0:11.4 2nd H: Randle made two FTs with 31.2 left, but Haynes scored easily on a drive with 25 seconds left. Knezevic missed 1 and 1 and Haynes scored again on a floater in the lane, pulling OSU within 63-61. Haynes has 25 points, including 16 since 8:50 left. Randle back in after going out on a defensive switch.
0:43.3 2nd H: Robertson hit a 3-pointer off the timeout, but Randle turned the ball over on Cal’s next possession and Haynes just scored to make it 61-57.
1:28 2nd H: It’s never over ’til . . . well, you know the rest. OSU has scrapped back within 58-55 after Josh Tarver put back a missed FT by Calvin Haynes with 1:48 left. Cal has the ball with 17 seconds left on the 35-second clock.
3:48 2nd H: Cal has gotten sloppy and OSU’s jumping all over it. The Beavers have scored nine straight points, closing to 57-51. The Bears have three TOs and a missed shot on their past four possessions. The Beavers’ defense now very aggressive, double-teaming everything. Cunningham has five points in the past 3 minutes and a career-high 18 for the game. Haynes has 17, including eight since Cal opened a 51-37 lead with 9:16 left.
Just a reminder that the Shrine Game takes place today at Noon on ESPN2. Cal’s Mike Tepper and Verran Tucker are on the West team.
By halftime Thursday night against Oregon at Haas Pavilion, the issue was settled. Cal led 48-21, and the Ducks weren’t coming back.
The halftime score this morning against Oregon State may not be as revealing.
Consider that Cal led the Beavers at halftime both games last year — 43-36 in the first meeting at Berkeley, then 28-21 in the rematch at Corvallis — and the Bears lost both games.
The common thread: OSU’s 1-3-1 zone defense.
“We attacked it well (at Corvallis). We didn’t attack it so well here. It kind of took us off guard a little bit in terms of their size,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “I think they surprised us here. They didn’t surprise us up there. We were moving along pretty smartly, and all of a sudden we couldn’t make a shot.
“I recall having a whole bunch of layups that we didn’t get finished. And then all of a sudden we couldn’t get a shot down.”