Basketball: Bears open 2011-12 Pac-12 vs. UCLA

When Utah and Colorado join the new Pac-12 next season, the conference basketball schedule will continue to involve 18 games, as it has since the Pac-8 expanded to the Pac-10 in 1978-79. Now it means each school in the league will miss one road trip and one homestand each year.

Cal will skip the trip to Arizona next season and won’t welcome the Washington schools at Haas Pavilion. Considering the Wildcats and Huskies figure to be two of the Pac-12’s better teams, perhaps not a bad tradeoff for the Bears. 

Here’s the Pac-10 portion of Cal’s 2011-12 schedule:

Thursday, Dec. 29: UCLA at Cal
Saturday, Dec. 31: USC at Cal
Thursday, Jan. 5: Cal at Oregon State
Saturday, Jan. 7: Cal at Oregon
Thursday, Jan. 12: Colorado at Cal
Saturday, Jan. 14: Utah at Cal
Thursday, Jan. 19: Cal at Washington
Saturday, Jan. 21: Cal at Washington State
Saturday, Jan. 28: Stanford at Cal
Thursday, Feb. 2: Arizona at Cal
Saturday, Feb. 4: Arizona State at Cal
Thursday, Feb. 9: Cal at USC
Saturday, Feb. 11: Cal at UCLA
Thursday, Feb. 16: Oregon at Cal
Saturday, Feb. 18: Oregon State at Cal
Thursday, Feb. 23: Cal at Utah
Saturday, Feb. 25: Cal at Colorado
Saturday, March 3: Cal at Stanford

Click here to check out the full Pac-12 schedule for men and women in 2011-12.


Basketball: Ducks top Creighton, knot CBI finals; SCU’s Foster sets Bay Area scoring mark

Oregon (20-18) evened the championship series of the College Baketball Invitational with a 71-58 victory over visiting Creighton (23-15). The teams will play Friday in Eugene, Ore., to settle the best-of-3 finals. The home team is now 15-1 in the CBI.

Senior forward Joevan Catron had 18 points and junior point guard Malcolm Armstead contributed 14 points, six assists and five of Oregon’s  13 steals.

— In the CollegeInsider.com Tournament final, Santa Clara (24-14) topped host Iona 76-69 to win its first nonconference postseason tournament crown. The Broncos’ win total is their greatest since going 27-2 in 1968-69, a team that featured future 12-year NBA center Dennis Awtrey.

Sophomore Kevin Foster shot just 6 for 20, but scored 16 points and became the all-time single-season scoring leader in Bay Area Division I history. Foster finished the season with 766 points, averaging 20.2 points per game. He broke a 29-year-old record held by the late Quintin Dailey, who scored 755 points and averaged 25.2 ppg for USF.

Foster had three 3-pointers, giving him an NCAA-leading 140 for the season.

— Here’s a fresh take on coach Ken Bone and the situation at Washington State, courtesy of Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley.


Basketball: Bears should be better in 2012, but there are issues, including the competition

My web-only Cal basketball season wrapup is now posted.

As a bonus, here’s a look at where Allen Crabbe ranked among the nation’s top-scoring freshmen in conference play:

1. Trey Zeigler, Central Michigan  18.2 points per game
2. Cleveland Melvin, DePaul         17.4
3. Brandon Knight, Kentucky        17.2
4t. Terrence Jones, Kentucky       17.1
4t. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State     17.1
6. Allen Crabbe, Cal                16.4
7. Harrison Barnes, N.Carolina    15.9
8t. Tobias Harris, Tennessee       14.7
8t. DeAndre Kane, Memphis        14.7
10. Tristan Thompson, Texas       14.6


Football: Back at it

It’s a good thing Cal pushed back the beginning of spring practice. Had the Bears tried to start at their original date of March 17, they would dealt with a lot of heavy rain.

The recent storms cleared up just in time for Cal to get it going on its  new start date, which was today. It was a beautiful day at Skyline High School, where the Bears put the helmets on and had an organized practice for the first  time since the end of last season.

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Basketball: Another honor for Cal’s Gutierrez

Already an All-Pac-10 first team, All-Pac-10 Defensive and second team Pac-10 All-Academic selection, Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez has added another award.

The junior guard from Chihuahua, Mexico was named to NetScoutsBasketball.com’s All-International collegiate first team.  

USC forward Nikola Vucevic (Montenegro) was the website’s International Player of the Year. Saint Mary’s sophomore guard Matthew Dellavedova (Australia) joined Gutierrez, Vucevic, St. Bonaventure’s Andrew Nicholson (Canada) and Rice’s Arsalan Kazemi (Iran) on the five-man first team.


Basketball: UCLA’s Lee tests NBA waters; WSU season ends with a thud in NIT semifinals

UCLA junior guard Malcolm Lee became the third Pac-10 player to add his name to the NBA draft early entry list, but Lee gave himself a backdoor. Unlike USC’s Nikola Vucevic and UCLA’s Tyler Honeycutt, who both jumped in with both feet, Lee said he will not hire an agent, giving him the option of returning to Westwood.

Here’s the full story from the Los Angeles Times.

— Meanwhile, Washington State (22-13) was crushed 75-44 by Wichita State in the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden. The Cougars shot 29 percent from the field, missed all 10 of their 3-pointers, were outrebounded 52-25 and outscored 48-18 in the paint.

“I thought we would play a lot better, but that’s life. You have to deal with it,” said junior Klay Thompson, the Pac-10 scoring leader who was held to six points on 1-for-10 shooting. “You can’t look back now. We played really bad … It’s even worse because it’s on a big stage. It was for a tournament championship, or a chance at one. And, yeah, it really hurts. It’s not a good feeling.”

Thompson could be the next Pac-10 player to make an announcement about his basketball future.

— Or it could be Arizona’s Derrick Williams, whose NBA draft stock continued to rise with his performance in the NCAA tournament.

“People watch and were saying the Pac-10 was down this year so it was good for him to go up against other teams and do what he’s been doing all year,” Jonathan Givony of Draft Express told the Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe. 

“Those dunks and threes against Duke — he’s done that before, but when you do that on that stage, it really sends a message. The Duke game was an incredibly dominant performance.”

Givony said he plans to rank Williams at No. 2 in his next mock draft. The sophomore forward has not indicated his plans for next season.

— The definition of frustration: One-time Monte Vista HS star Cory Higgins — son of the former Warriors forward — scored 13 points in Colorado’s 62-61 loss to Alabama in the NIT semifinals. Not only did the Buffaloes lose by one point, but Higgins finished his career with 2,001 — one point shy of breaking Richard Roby’s school record. Higgins wound up tying the record.