The 23rd-ranked Bears get their first real tests of the season Monday and Tuesday at the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
First up in the semifinals is Georgia (3-0), but the next round — regardless of the opponent — may be tougher still. No. 24 Missouri (3-0) or Notre Dame (4-0) looms on Tuesday. Cal faced the Fighting Irish last season in Orlando, Fla., and trailed 21-5 at halftime.
This is the Bears’ first trip out of the Bay Area and coach Mike Montgomery looks forward to getting a better sense of his team.
“We’ve played pretty well in spots so far. I think probably we’ve probably been better than the people we played against,” Montgomery said. “The competition will be much greater. We’ll be facing people more like the athletes we have, or better.”
The Bears’ national reputation will be impacted here, but senior forward Harper Kamp said the team isn”t merely trying to show the country it’s legit.
“It’s going to be really important for us,” he said. “We’re going to have to prove ourselves not only to other people but to one another.”
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS: Georgia is picked to finish in the lower half of the Southeastern Conference, mostly because the team’s two top players – Trey Thompkins (16.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Travis Leslie (14.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) — left early for the NBA. The Bulldogs start two sophomores in the frontcourt, but are stronger at guard, where seniors Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware provide leadership . . . Freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the school’s first McDonald’s All-America recruit in nearly 20 years, is a big scorer who averaged 31 ppg as a senior at Greenville (Ga.) HS. But Caldwell-Pope’s eligibility was briefly in question last summer related to a person involved with his AAU team and the Columbus, Ga., parks and rec department, who had purchased an airline ticket for Caldwell-Pope and paid his mother’s cell phone bill. Caldwell-Pope paid $280.90 restitution, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and was cleared by the NCAA . . . Georgia is coached by Mark Fox, who was an assistant at Nevada under Trent Johnson, a former Montgomery assistant at Stanford.
THE SERIES: Tied 1-1. Cal beat Georgia 85-64 in 2000-01 and the Bulldogs won 78-73 in overtime in 2002-03. Both games were played at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.
MISCELLANY: Cal junior reserve center Robert Thurman, who sat out the past two games with a strained hip flexor, will dress and is expected to be available to play in Monday night’s game . . . Neither redshirt freshman wing Alex Rossi nor freshman forward Christian Behrens made the trip to Kansas City.
TIPOFF: 7 p.m. Monday at the Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo. TV: ESPN. Radio: 910-AM.
Cal (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||So.||16.7||3.3|
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Sr.||9.7||8.3|
|PF Richard Solomon||6-10||So.||6.0||7.3|
|SG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Sr.||13.3||5.0*|
|PG Brandon Smith||5-11||Jr.||7.0||3.3*|
|G Justin Cobbs||6-2||So.||9.0||4.3*|
|F David Kravish||6-9||Fr.||6.3||6.3|
|G Emerson Murray||6-3||So.||3.0||1.0|
Georgia (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
|PF Donte Williams||6-9||So.||8.0||7.3|
|SF Marcus Thornton||6-7||So.||6.0||6.0|
|SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||6-5||Fr.||13.3||5.7|
|SG Dustin Ware||5-11||Sr.||7.0||3.0|
|PG Gerald Robinson||6-1||Sr.||13.7||4.3*|
|F Nemanja Djurisic||6-8||Fr.||8.7||3.0|
|C John Florveus||7-0||Jr.||3.3||2.3|
|G Sherrard Brantley||6-2||Jr.||3.0||1.7|