Well, it would have been interesting to see how the Bears might have fared against Notre Dame, a big, physical team that forged a ridiculous 21-5 halftime lead against Cal in Orlando, Fla., last year.
“You mean the ugliest game in the history of college basketball?” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey quipped last week. “We came out after halftime and Mike (Montgomery) said, `You know, Mike, we usually don’t shoot it this well.’
“They were young last year and we were old. I’m very, very impressed this year with them. I think they’re a very very confident group”
The 20th-ranked Bears should be confident after their 70-46 dismantling of Georgia in Monday’s first round of the CBE Classic at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Now they face a quick and athletic team in 21st-ranked Misouri, which obliterated Notre Dame 87-58 in the early semifinal.
This will be Cal’s toughest challenge of the non-conference schedule. The Tigers are older, better and faster than Georgia.
Brey had serious concerns about the Tigers’ four-guard offense prior to their meeting.
“They spread you out. They’re so good off the dribble and finding each other,” Brey said. “They’re so quick. That’s the ultimate test: us taking care of the ball against their speed.”
The Irish failed the test miserably. Cal gets its chance Tuesday night.
ABOUT THE TIGERS: Missouri is 4-0 under first-year coach Frank Haith, who came from Miami after Mike Anderson left to work for Arkansas, his alma mater . . . The Tigers are a guard-oriented squad led by senior Marcus Denmon, who scored 26 points in the semifinal rout of Notre Dame. An All-Big 12 pick a year ago, Denmon is shooting 52.6 percent from the 3-point line and 90 percent from the FT line . . .Wing Kim English is shooting 15 for 23 from the 3-point arc so far, helping the Tigers convert 47.9 percent as a team through four games . . . Brothers Phil and Matt Pressey, also starting guards, are the sons of ex-NBA standpoint Paul Pressey . . . The club’s only starting big man is senior Ricardo Ratliffe, a 6-8, 240-pounder who showed a nice jump hook against Notre Dame . . . Missouri is outrebounding its foes by 7.0 per game, is plus 6.3 turnovers per outing and is holding opponents to 28.8 percent from the 3-point arc . . . They have won by an average margin of 23.3 ppg, and by at least 15 points in every game.
THE SERIES: Missouri leads 4-2, including a 93-66 rout of the Bears in Columbia, Mo., in 2008-09, Mike Montgomery’s first season at Cal.
MISCELLANY: Cal improved to 8-10 all-time vs. the Southeastern Conference with its semifinal win over Georgia. The 24-point margin was the Bears’ second-biggest ever against an SEC team . . . Missouri assistant coach Ernie Nestor spent three years on ex-Cal coach Lou Campanelli’s staff in the late 1980s . . . Missouri sixth man Michael Dixon attended Lee’s Summit West HS, rival to Cal freshman David Kravish’s alma mater of Lee’s Summit North . . . Cal has led by an average of 18.3 points at halftime of its first four games . . . The win over Georgia snapped a six-game losing streak by the Bears in the state of Missouri dating back to 1982 . . . Cal has won its first four games by at least 17 points for the first time since the 1952-53 season.
TIPOFF: 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo. TV: ESPN2. Radio: 910-AM.
Cal (4-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
|SF Allen Crabbe||6-6||So.||14.8||4.0|
|PF Harper Kamp||6-8||Sr.||11.3||7.0|
|PF Richard Solomon||6-10||So.||5.8||7.3|
|SG Jorge Gutierrez||6-3||Sr.||15.3||6.5|
|PG Brandon Smith||5-11||Jr.||7.0||3.5*|
|G Justin Cobbs||6-2||So.||9.3||4.5*|
|F David Kravish||6-9||Fr.||6.3||6.8|
|G Emerson Murray||6-3||So.||2.8||1.3|
Missouri (4-0, 0-0 Big 12)
|PF Ricardo Ratliffe||6-8||Sr.||11.8||7.3|
|SF Kim English||6-6||Sr.||15.3||5.3|
|SG Matt Pressey||6-2||Sr.||6.8||3.5|
|SG Marcus Denmon||6-3||Sr.||20.0||6.0|
|PG Phil Pressey||6-1||So.||14.3||3.5*|
|G Michael Dixon||6-1||Jr.||10.0||3.3|
|C Steve Moore||6-9||Sr.||2.8||2.8|
|F Kadeem Green||6-8||Fr.||2.8||2.5|