Monday dinks and links . . .
— Cal’s loss at Colorado dropped the Bears from No. 29 to No. 36 in the latest NCAA official RPI rankings. That’s still 16 spots higher than the next-best Pac-12 team, Washington, at No. 52. Oregon is No. 53, Arizona No. 69 and Colorado No. 76. What’s killing the Pac-12 is that three teams — ASU, USC and Utah — are all No. 250 or worse. Amazing.
— ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi still has Cal as a No. 9 seed, projecting the Bears to play Memphis at Omaha, Neb., with a second-round matchup vs. No. 1 Kansas looming, A chance to renew some of the bad blood when the teams mixed it up in Berkeley a year ago. The biggest news in Lunardi’s projections is that he seems to be hinting the Pac-12 could land four teams. That would be a stunner. He’s got Oregon and Colorado among his “next four out,” and they play Thursday at Eugene. The winner will move closer to the field.
— Cal scored 57 points in each of its two games vs. Colorado this season, tied for the third lowest-scoring games of their season. The issue: The guard trio of Jorge Gutierrez (2 for-24), Justin Cobbs (6 for 20) and Allen Crabbe (8 for 22) combined to shoot 16 for 66 in the two games. They totaled 57 points among them in the two outings.
— Of course, Cal will cheer this week for USC or UCLA to beat Washington in L.A., giving the Bears a chance to secure a share of the Pac-12 title. If that doesn’t happen and Cal finishes second, the Bears would benefit from Oregon sweeping Colorado and Utah in Eugene. That would leave Oregon and Arizona tied for third place, and the Ducks would earn the No. 3 seed for the Pac-12 tournament by virtue of their head-to-head win over the Wildcats. That would project Cal to face Oregon in the 2 vs. 3 tournament semifinal, a better matchup than Cal vs. Arizona.