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Basketball: Bears release 2011-12 schedule

By Jeff Faraudo
Monday, August 8th, 2011 at 3:19 pm in Basketball, Scheduling.

Cal opens its 2011-12 season at home against UC Irvine on Friday, Nov. 11 and will play non-conference games away from home against Georgia, San Diego State and UNLV before tipping off the first Pac-12 Conference schedule Dec. 29 against USC at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears play UC San Diego in an exhibition game on Nov. 1.

In addition to Irvine, the non-conference slate features home games against George Washington (Nov. 13), Austin Peay (Nov. 15), Denver (Nov. 26), McNeese State (Nov. 28), San Jose State (Dec. 7), Jackston State (Dec. 11), Weber State (Dec. 16) and UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 19). The GWU and Austin Peay games are part of the College Basketball Experience tournament.

The Bears’ three toughest non-conference games will be played away from home. Cal faces Georgia in the semifinals of the CBE on Nov. 21 at Kansas City, then will take on either Notre Dame or Missouri the next night.

Cal visits San Diego State on Dec. 4 and plays at UNLV on Dec. 23 in its final game before the start of the Pac-12.

New conference members Colorado and Utah make their debut at Berkeley on Jan 12 and 14, respectively. Cal then returns the visit, playing at Utah on Feb. 23 and at Colorado on Feb. 26.

Cal’s game vs. Stanford will be played Jan. 29 at Berkeley at March 4 at Maples Pavilion.

In the 18-game double-round robin schedule, Cal this season will miss playing at Arizona and Arizona State, and home games against Washington and Washington State.

Here’s the Bears’ full 2011-12 schedule.

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  • Kevin Thomas

    I can’t say I have ever seen a weaker pre-season home schedule. None of these teams were ranked, or won their conferences, and several had losing records. Only one, UCSB, went to the NCAA’s, but lost in round 1. No wonder attendance is down. Who but die-hard Cal fans would pay to see these teams? I couldn’t give some of these tickets away.

    As long as we are going to schedule mediocre teams like this, why can’t we schedule USF and Santa Clara? (We are probably afraid to schedule St. Mary’s, because they might just beat us.) These local teams had great rivalries with Cal for many years, and have lots of fans who would love to play Cal at Haas.

  • DaveintheHills

    @Kevin

    I strongly disagree. Last year, Cal’s home schedule was super strong (Kansas, SD State, New Mexico, etc.) and attendance was low. In the end, we just got punished for a subpar win-loss record and didn’t make the NCAAs.

    Monty’s been scheduling a tough OOC schedule and it hasn’t worked well with the Selection Committee (remember that 8th seed as Pac-10 champions a couple of years ago?)

    This will ensure we will have a great record and higher seed going into the NCAA tournament.

    P.s. SEC schools (save LSU and Tennessee) have been scheduling like this for football for years and it has worked out well for them, I’d say. I’m a supporter of this approach.

    P.p.s. If you complain about easy home opponents and cite that as a reason for not coming to games, ask yourself whether you came to any last year (and, yes, I was there for almost all games).

  • Kevin Thomas

    Dave,

    So I guess John Wooden and Pete Newell had no success by scheduling the toughest teams they could find? Does it make you feel good beating up on weak teams, just to get a good record and get noticed by the NCAA officials? Didn’t Cal try this approach under Ben Braun? How well did he do? Were you proud of his results?

    As to your pps, can you present your points without personal insults? I am class of ’65, and I went to every home game last year, as I have done for many, many years.

  • milo

    Cal’s European tour starts in a few days. I think that might be a reason why the OOC schedule is a bit light this year. My guess is Monty is going to use the tour as competitive prep this season as opposed to the OOC.

  • DaveintheHills

    Kevin,

    First, I did not mean that to be a personal insult to you, and I do understand how it could have been interpreted as such. For that I apologize. I meant it to be more of a general statement: I find myself talking to a lot of alumni who cite the lack of attendance at home games as a reason for why they don’t go. I find that logic twisted and frustrating. Haas is exceptionally easy to get to from a lot of places in the Bay Area, and this team deserves a lot more support than it gets. And good OOC opposition has not proven to bring fans to Haas in recent years.

    The Wooden/Newell argument doesn’t really work, since both coached top 10 teams perennially. Cal is nowhere close that.

    Overall, this OOC schedule is a complete 180 in comparison to the past couple years. And those schedules definitely hurt us in the post-season. This year’s schedule may do that too (lack of schedule strength). There probably is some sort of happy medium. For now, I’ll take lots of wins.

    Go Bears!

  • Kyle

    @Kevin- On the surface looking that names of the OOC games Cal plays this year on the road and at home it doesn’t look great. But by my count we are playing at least 5 teams that won 20+ plus games last year. Georgia not a top tier SEC team but an SEC team none the less, ND and Missou both ranked in top 25 last year and tournament teams, SDSU one win away from final four, UNLV ranked most of the year and in the tournament. Not sure what else you want; Cal isn’t Duke, UNC, or UCLA for that matter in terms of getting big OOC games. To me that is a very good OOC schedule and should get them ready for PAC 12 play. All told OOC games and PAC 12 games we are playing 10 tournament teams from a year ago. This should be a good year for Cal hoops. Just hoping they aren’t playing in their usual 8 vs. 9 game in March. Go Bears!

  • gobears49

    Just looked at the non-league schedule and its looks fine to me.

    If Cal had played that kind of schedule last year, they might have qualified for the NCAA’s, as they didn’t miss it by much. Better to play a slightly less competitive schedule and have a better shot at making the NCAA’s than the super tough schedule they played last year. A loss is a loss in determining whether you make the NCAA’s, no matter how tough the opponent. Better to get a win against a team that is not quite as good and there by raise your chances to get into the tournament.

  • discdude

    Kyle is right, the toughest games aren’t at home, and that’s unfortunate. But it’s not a cake-walk schedule overall, it’s just a bit easier at home. The Bears were 1 win from NCAAs last year, I’d rather get there, than say “Wow, we got beat at home by Duke early in the season when their 7 McD’s players took us apart.” I see the point, I’d love to see some big teams at Haas, but the reality is that outside of maybe Arizona, no one schedules more than 3 to 4 tough OOC games. This year, SDSU, Georgia, Missouri/ND, and UNLV will serve that purpose, they just aren’t homes games.

  • Kevin Thomas

    I have no beef with the away games on the OOC schedule – in fact I think it is excellent in terms of preparing the team for the conference season. The home games are another matter. These games do little or nothing to help the team prepare, except to get them over-confident. As for getting into the NCAA’s, and getting a high seed, which is what you all seem to want, I may be wrong on this, but doesn’t RPI count more than total wins? I thought that if you did well against good teams, you had a better chance of making the tournament and getting a high seed, than you did by playing and beating a lot of weak teams. I thought Cal did not get in last year because they did not play well against good teams.

    This year we will play something like 5 good teams on the road, and 10 patsies at home. My desire as a fan is to see the Bears win the Conference, and win the NCAA’s, nothing less. I don’t see any particular accomplishment in finishing 5th in the conference and getting selected for the dance. Or getting a 5 seed as opposed to a 9th seed. It is rewarding mediocrity instead of achievement, and there is far too much of that permeating sports and society these days. You make yourself better by playing teams better than yours, and learning how to win those games. Both Pete Newell and John Wooden had this philosophy, and contrary to what was written here, Cal and UCLA were not perennial top ten programs, especially in the first few years of those coaches. Both took over programs that weren’t successful, and built them into winning programs.

    I don’t have to see Cal play Duke or Kansas at this point, just a few games at home with opponents as good as those we are playing on the road this year. And if we are going to play weak opponents at home, why can’t we schedule USF, St. Mary’s, and Santa Clara instead?

  • Kyle

    I agree with trying to get a St. Mary’s, USF, Santa Clara etc….scheduled for a home game. I think there is obviously something to why they haven’t. If it was easy as just going out and scheduling it I think it would be done. Something tells me it isn’t that easy. And Cal is playing SJSU who has Adrian Oliver who might be the best player in all the Bay Area. I think mentioning Newell and Wooden is not fair. We can’t compare those era of players, coaches, and teams to this era. Sure its an easy comparsion to look at what they did 30 years or whatever after the fact. I don’t believe that making the tournament as 5th, 9th, or whatever seed other than a 1 is rewarding mediocrity. Ask Butler the last two years or VCU last year if they felt mediocre. Get to the dance and see what happens. Go Bears!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Kyle,

    I can’t disagree much with what you said. Basketball has changed so much in my lifetime. Some things are good, others are bad. Players now are bigger, stronger, faster, better leapers, and they play harder. There is much more “banging”. With all this comes a lot more injuries. Cal lost a lot of games in the years that Harper was hurt. Last year, it was not the tough schedule that did Cal in, it was injuries (and the failure of Gary Franklin).

    The players now talk about “MY game”, not about the team game. Pete Newell’s players all shot from behind screens. Today, you need to recruit players who can “create their own shot”. Rules have changed: the 3-point shot, and the dunk is allowed. In the pros, traveling is seldom called, and there is no rule against carrying the ball. The jump ball is gone, because refs can’t throw the ball higher and keep it vertically straight.

    The game has changed from a game played for the students, to a game played for alumni and other adults. In 1959 at Cal, the students could buy an athletic privelege card for $10, which got them in to all sporting events on campus. Look at what they pay now. At the old Harmon, Cal students sat on one side of the court, and the opponent rooters sat on the other. At Haas, which is not unique, students get a few rows on one side, and the majority sit behind one basket. Opponent rooters are relegated to one corner, up high near the roof. Alumni with the most money get the primo seats. I am waiting for the student section at Memorial to be moved to the end zone.

    In 1959, Cal won the NCAA tournament. There were 23 teams in the tournament, those who won major conferences, and the rest were the better independents. There were maybe 6-8 teams who had a chance to win the title. Today, there are 65 teams in the tournament (and the NCAA is threatening to make it 128 teams), and still there are no more than 6-8 teams with a chance to win it. (Only one team with a seed as low as #8 has ver won it, Villanova, 1997). Why are the other teams even in it? Just to please their fans with a showing, and maybe an upset of one better team? No, they are in it for the money, the entertainment dollar. It is no longer a game for the students.

    I say this stuff because I had the privelege of seeing the only Cal team to win the championship, a thrill which you probably haven’t yet experienced. To take a bunch of boys who had few skills, average talent, none highly recruited, and mold them into a precision unit, and then see the ultimate success, that was nirvana. I saw every game. Got so excited, I tried out for the next year’s team as a walk-on. That team almost won it again, losing to Ohio State in the championship game. I think Montgomerty is on the right track. I hope that in your lifetime, you get a chance to witness what I did in mine. Go Bears!