Basketball: Your favorite all-time Bear?

With Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp set to play their final home game on Saturday, I got to wondering . . .

Who is your favorite all-time Cal basketball player?

Not necessarily the best player, but your favorite.

Do Gutierrez or Kamp figure in your discussion?

How about Jason Kidd, Al Grigsby, Kevin Johnson, Jerome Randle?

Darrall Imhoff?

Max Zhang? Or did his sudden departure knock him from your list?

No doubt, I’ve overlooked plenty of other deserving candidates.

Tell me about your favorite Cal player and I will compile the results and post them Saturday before tipoff.


Basketball: 3 Pac-12 teams in latest mock bracket

Could it happen?

Could the woeful Pac-12 Conference land three teams in the NCAA tournament field?

Of course it could, but nothing is certain at this point and the landscape can (and will) change repeatedly over the next three weeks.

For now, though, ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lunardi — and no matter what you think of him, this guy really does know what he’s talking about — says there will be three Pac-12 teams in the field. As of today. As of this moment.

Lunardi is projecting Cal as a No. 9 seed (I believe, same as in his most recent bracket),  set to face Southern Miss in Omaha, with a second-round rematch looming vs. Missouri. Hey, maybe the Tigers would be over-confident. (How could they not be, right?)

Lunardi has Arizona as a No. 11 seed, playing Wichita State in Albuquerque, N.M. (not exactly a home game for the Cats, but pretty close), with a possible second-round matchup vs. Baylor.

Washington is projected as a No. 13 in a play-in game vs. Miami. A win would send the Huskies to Portland to face No. 4 Wisconsin.

Of course, Arizona and Washington face off Saturday in Seattle. When one of them loses, all this changes again.



Rugby: At last, a challenge for powerhouse Bears

Cal’s rugby team, unbeaten and unchallenged through its first nine games, takes on the British Columbia Thunderbirds on Saturday in its “World Cup” series game at Treasure Island.

The teams will square off at 3 p.m. at Ray Sheeran Field at the San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club.

The “World Cup” began in 1921 and continues as a home-and-home series that the Bears recently have ruled. Cal has won 12 of the past 15 series vs. UBC, including five years in a row.

The teams complete the two-game set March 25 at British Columbia.

Note: Fans planning to attend Saturday’s game should check to determine the status of a planned Bay Bridge westbound closure. Click here for more details on alternate routes to the game. 

Meanwhile . . .

   — BASEBALL: Cal opens its season Friday at home against Pacific, the first of a three-game weekend series at Evans Diamond. The Bears, no longer on the budget chopping block, are coming off a 38-23 campaign, punctuated by a trip to the 2011 College World Series. Check out our Bay Area college baseball preview.



Basketball: Huskies stay even with Cal

With four games left, there are five teams within two games of the top . . .

   — Washington 77, Arizona State 69: The Huskies (18-8, 11-3) built an 18-point halftime lead at home and held on to stay tied for first place. Terrence Ross scored 18 points for UW. Carrick Felix had 13 for the Sun Devils (8-18, 4-10), who lost their fourth in five games.

   — Arizona 76, Washington State 72: Brendon Lavender scored 17 points and the Wildcats (19-8, 10-4) won their fifth straight to set up Saturday’s big game at Washington. Arizona improved to 5-2 in conference road games. Brock Motum scored 28 points for the Cougars (13-13, 5-9), but was just 10 for 18 from the FT line.

   — Stanford 87, Oregon State 82: Freshman Chasson Randle scored 24 points and Aaron Bright had 20 as Stanford (28-8, 8-6) won its second straight to move into a tie for sixth place with idle UCLA. Pac-12 scoring leader Jared Cunningham, the junior from San Leandro HS, scored 22 points for OSU (15-11, 5-9), which has lost three in a row and four of five.

   PAC-12 STANDINGS: Cal 11-3, Washington 11-3, Arizona 10-4, Colorado 9-4, Oregon 9-5, Stanford 8-6, UCLA 8-6, Oregon State 5-9, Washington State 5-9, Arizona State 4-10, Utah 2-11, USC 1-13.



Women’s basketball: Bears win at Oregon

Layshia Clarendon scored 27 points, including five of her team’s 10 3-pointers, and the Cal women beat Oregon 83-71 at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore., to remain alone in second place in the Pac-12 standings.

Talia Caldwell added 12 points and nine rebounds and freshman Reshanda Gray had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears (19-7, 10-4).

The nation’s No. 2-ranked team in rebounding margin, Cal beat Oregon 48-32 on the boards to overcome 19 turnovers.

“We talked about any win on the road in conference is tough. I think we got Oregon’s best shot today. They were ready. They were excited to play us,” first-year Bears coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “I think tonight was showing that we are built for different situations.”

Next up for the Bears is a trip to Oregon State (17-8, 8-6) on Saturday to face a Beavers’ squad that began the night alone in third place, then got clobbered 78-45 by third-ranked Stanford.


Basketball: Oregon game thread

MORE NUMBERS: Cal outscored the Ducks 48-36 in the paint, and scored 25 points off 22 Oregon turnovers . . . Cal won despite being outscored 18-6 on 3-pointers . . . The Bears shot 62 percent in the second half, 55.7 percent for the game . . . Oregon was 11 for 11 from the FT line, but Joseph attempted nine of the 11 . . . Crabbe and Gutierrez combined to shoot 4 for 17 but Cobbs and Kamp were 20 for 30.

POSTGAME: From Harper Kamp: “That was a lot of fun. A little too much stress, but to see my team play the way they did, guys like J (Cobbs) stepping up, us making plays at the end, and having a lot of heart . . . those are the kind of games you want to play in.”

From Mike Montgomery: “This is the kind of game you’ve got to have if you’re going to win a championship, where you take the other team’s best shot. Oregon’s really good. I can’t imagine anyone in the league playing better than them right now.”

FINAL SCORE: Cal 86, Oregon 83. Spectacular finish. Cal outscored the Ducks 21-10 after trailing 73-65 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Cobbs scores a career-high 28 points to go with eight assists, four steals and no turnovers in 38 minutes. Kamp had 20 points — seven of them in the final 1:09. Joseph scored 33 for the Ducks, including two 3-pointers in the final 26.1 seconds. Cal improved to 21-6, 11-3 in the Pac-12, staying in a tie for first place with Washington, which held off Arizona State in Seattle. Oregon  dropped to 18-8, 9-5.

0:57.2 2nd H: Cal leads 79-77 after a layup and free throw by Kamp, who has 16 points. Oregon just called timeout. Gutierrez gave Cal its first lead since the first half with two FTs at 1:41, but Sim answered with a basket for Oregon at 1:25.

3:53 2nd H: Cobbs just completed a fastbreak layup off a pass from Gutierrez, pulling Cal within 73-71. But Montgomery was hit with a technical foul and Joseph made two FTs for a 75-71 score. Joseph has 27.

7:57 2nd H: Gutierrez whistled for his fourth PR. He is not happy. Is coming out. Oregon leads 65-62.

8:43 2nd H: A 3-pointer by Cobbs and Cal trails 65-62. Moments earlier, Joseph banked in a 26-foot 3-pointer — he has 25 points. Cobbs has 18 for the Bears.

11:38 2nd H: Devoe Joseph just hit a long 3-pointer and Oregon extended its lead to 59-53. Joseph has 19 points. Kamp has 13 for the Bears, who had climbed within 56-53 on a short jumper by Kravish and a layup by Kamp before Joseph’s shot.

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Basketball: Ducks reflect on first meeting with Golden Bears: `We got destroyed’

Oregon is an unexpected but persistent player in the wide-open Pac-12 Conference title race.

But the Ducks, who visit Haas Pavilion on Thursday night, understand they must play far better than they did early last month when Cal took home a 77-60 win from Matthew Knight Arena.

“We got destroyed,” Oregon’s Johnathan Loyd said. “They just flat out played better than us.”

“We played terrible,” chimed in teammate E.J. Singler, calling the loss to Cal “one of our worst games of the year.”

Here’s more from the Eugene Register-Guard.


Basketball: Oregon scouting report

TIPOFF: 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Haas Pavilion. TV: CSNCA. Radio: 910-AM.

There will be hoopla and emotions Saturday night when the Bears honor seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp in their final game of the season at Haas Pavilion.

In the meantime, there are games to be won if the Bears want to stay atop the Pac-12 Conference race.

Oregon sits one back back of co-leaders Cal and Washington in a three-way tie for third place and Oregon State, although sitting in eighth place, was good enough to beat Cal in Corvallis last month.

Cal can tie its record of 17 victories in a season at Haas Pavilion by sweeping this weekend. Anything less than that and the Bears could tumble out of the top spot, with three road games (Utah, Colorado, Stanford) looming to close out the regular-season schedule.

The Bears played one of their better games of the season to beat Oregon 77-60 in Eugene last month.

“We looked really good. But we did play very hard, and that’s what we have to do,” coach Mike Montgomery said. “We have to defend, create some energy off our defense, create some turnovers, missed shots, so we can get out and run, that kind of stuff.

“It’s just a matter of being revved up to play defense, playing hard to take certain things away. For all of us at this stage, you kind of know what you have to do and you just kind of have to go out and execute.”

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Women’s basketball: Bears trek to Oregon

TIPOFF: Cal (18-7, 9-4 Pac-12) vs. Oregon (14-11, 6-7) at Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore., Thursday, 7 p.m.

GAME THEME: The second-place Bears try to duplicate their success they enjoyed against the Oregon schools in Berkeley last month. Cal beat Oregon 90-67 and Oregon State 73-56. The Bears have beaten the seventh-place Ducks 11 of their past 12 meetings. Cal holds a one-game lead over third-place OSU, which must face third-ranked Stanford on Thursday night.

NOTES: Cal’s post players dominated the Oregon schools last month, with Gennifer Brandon totaling 28 points and 27 rebounds, Talia Caldwell 26 points and 22 rebounds, and freshman Reshanda Gray 26 points and 12 rebounds in the two wins . . . Oregon is the league’s No. 2 scoring team at 74.6 ppg, but ranked last in defense, allowing 75.6 ppg . . . Cal is second nationally in rebounding margin (plus-14.6) while the Ducks are last in the Pac-12 (minus-2.6) . . . The Bears dropped from No. 30 to No. 41, according to the NCAA’s official RPI computer ratings, after losing at home to USC last Saturday.

NEXT TIME: Cal at Oregon State, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2 p.m.