Basketball: Does schedule give Bears an edge?

The Pac-12 has posted its basketball pre-season prospectus and one of the tidbits included is a chart showing which opponents each school will “miss” during the conference schedule.

With two extra teams in the league this season, playing an 18-game conference schedule will require each school to miss two opponents at home and two on the road.

Looks to me like the schedule is favorable to the Bears.

Here’s why: Cal will miss playing the Arizona schools on the road and the Washington schools at home. If you consider Arizona, Washington and UCLA the three chief threats to Cal for the Pac-12 title, the schedule allows the Bears to miss playing two of the six matchups against those teams.

None of the other three schools misses more than one of the lead contenders.

The Pac-12 prospectus tells that us Cal returns 76.5 percent of its scoring from a year ago, tops in the conference.

There are no 1,000-point career scorers returning, but Cal senior Jorge Gutierrez ranks No. 2 among returnees in scoring (803 points), assists (287) and steals (109) while teammate Harper Kamp is fourth in scoring (740) and second in rebounds (373).