Basketball: Monday odds ‘n ends


ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has just two Pac-12 teams in his latest NCAA tournament projection — and one of them is Cal.

Lunardi envisions the Bears as a No. 10 seed, facing Creighton at Columbus. Ohio. No. 2 seed Michigan State would loom in the second round.

Washington is a No. 11 seed, according to Lunardi, Oregon is among the “first four out,” and Arizona has slipped out of the bracket to the “next four out.”

   — The NCAA’s official RPI ratings are now in and Cal is No. 37 — a drop of just one spot from a week ago. Oregon is No. 50, Washington No. 54, and Arizona sliding far off the bubble at No. 76.

   — No surprise here: No Pac-12 team got a single vote in either the AP Top-25 or ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Ouch.


Jeff Faraudo

  • Jorge best not get any POY nods. He vanished in the most important games of the season. He had his worst games when the spotlight was on him. He is a fantastic, maybe the consumate, supporting player, but when he is supposed to be “the man,” his game just does not fit the role. One aspect, his defense is so frenetic when he’s on that it is almost impossible for him to stay out of foul trouble (refs that are not used to him, see fouls everywhere). When he eases up on D to use more energy on offense, his value drops incredibly because of he’s poor from outside.


    Cal loses their first Pac tourney game, and we are NIT bound. The way the offenses has been rushing things for weeks now, I am not optimistic. Though, I’ll be shocked if Scott does not make sure we have refs that call games more fitted to our style. One bid would make the league a laughing stock, . . . , more than we already are.

  • 1brsfan

    Wisdom- I disagree that losing the first game will make us NIT bound. We may end up in the play in game as a 12 seed. The only way I see that happening is if there are a lot of upsets in conf tourneys and the bubble shrinks. Possible for that to happen but right now we’re not on the last four in line.

  • SturdyGoldenBear

    Quite the optimist, Wisdom Cow. I have to agree with you to an extent regarding Jorge. He definitely struggled in some important games and has let his emotions get the best of him at times, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he isn’t deserving of the nomination. I don’t think he’s too aggressive or frenetic on defense. His energy on defense throughout the season has definitely done more good than harm. There’s no way you can argue it the other way around. What I will concede is that Jorge has developed a reputation among officials, for better or worse, and I think we probably see a fair amount of calls based more on this reputation than on the actual events. For or against him.

    There are a lot of teams on an upswing right now, and we’re definitely not one of them. But if we’ve learned anything this season (particularly this past weekend) it’s that any team can beat anyone…for the most part. ASU upset UA, UCLA upset UW, and less surprisingly Stanford upset Cal. I think we come out of the gates fired up on Thursday, especially if we get Stanford. The Friday game would be against either Oregon or Colorado (most likely), which would be tough but also winnable. Point is, no game is guaranteed, and that goes both ways.

  • discdude

    WC – agree that he’s probably not POY material, but give the guy a break. For that matter, give them all a break, this team is 5.5 players deep right now (versus UW and their 10 man rotation). It’s the only reason they didn’t win the conference, depth. Avg minutes for starters have skyrocketed later in the season and especially after Solomon left. Everyone needs to lay off the negativity, it’s just where they are at right now.

    I think a potential Cal – Furd rematch bodes well for Cal. No way yesterday happens again on a neutral court. It’s a pretty simple recipe for the team, win Thursday and they are in. Lose and it’s up to the committee and they are facing a potential NIT bid.

  • Esquire Joe

    Discdude, you hit the nail on the head. From the beginning of the season, this team lacked depth. And when does the lack of depth usually show itself? At the end of the season, when the starters are gassed. They did a good job to hang in there at the top of the Pac 12 this season, but they’re no longer the team that beat UW on its home court, or even the team that swept the LA schools. They’re at the end of their rope.

    That said, this team played pretty well in LA this year (albeit not at the Staples Center), and should handle either Stanford or ASU. One more win over CU or OR, and they’re in the tourney for sure. Even a loss in that second game would at worst be to an RPI 75-ish Colorado (having had to get by OR should improve their RPI), which wouldn’t be a killer. And if it’s the Ducks, that’s an RPI top-50 team, which shouldn’t really affect Cal that much.

    I predict they make it to the NCAA tourney with the next win, but just by the skin of their teeth, if that’s all they get.

  • My legitimate critiques have been read as harsher than I meant, likely as I am still bitter over yesterday.

    The team did well this year, but, IMO, the realistic accomplishment of the conference regular season title was blown by poor efforts and a lack of focus in the final two games, a point Harper agrees with. The team is simply too thin, roster and front court, to have a run in either tourney (without luck or refs), so failing, by their own fault, towards the conference crown was a huge disappointment to me.

    They lacked focus to start both games, then made matters worse in both by rushing the offense when down instead of playing their game. I am not usually pleased if they play poorly and win (as they did a few times down the stretch), and I am never too upset when they play well or give strong efforts but lose to a better team. That said, losing to an inferior team because you play your worst ball is as bad as it gets for me, personally.

    1brsfan, think forward. If, IF, they lose their first Pac Tourney game, it will be 3 losses in a row (1, maybe 2 of them to a team with an rpi over 100). Cal’s rpi would go into the 45-55 range (currently 37), and Oregon needs to reach the conference title game to likely stay in the top 50 (currently 48) or we lose our so called top 50 rpi wins. The team has been playing their worst ball the past several weeks. The committee will find it hard to justify keeping them in the field. Worse, if Oregon makes the finals, against UW, then those two teams probably get the nod, making it even easier to leave the Bears out.

    Sturdy, point of clarification, I meant too frenetic on D to be the main offensive option. He only really fills the stat sheet against the lesser clubs. And I really don’t consider it a slight to suggest him as a consummate support player. I actually think he’ll be getting minutes in the NBA (defensive guard replacement to rest the starters).

  • Esquire Joe

    BTW, on Jorge, I love him to death, but he lost POY over the last 5 games. Sure, it’s not his fault that he was overworked due to lack of depth, but as he tired, he also lost his composure. Then again, that’s what happens when you’re tired. It affects your decision making first.

    I do, however, disagree with you, WC. If Jorge could have sustained even some of the effort he’s shown throughout his Cal career in the last two weeks, he definitely would be POY material. He may not have been his team’s first offensive option, but he can score from 15 feet in, and is (was) an above-average offensive player overall.

    The bottom line is that, in the last 5 games, he shot 33% from the field, vs. 46% the rest of the year, and 14% from 3pt range, vs. 33% the rest of the year. And it’s not like his early season numbers were padded against sub-Pac-12 talent this year.

  • 1brsfan

    wisdom, this just in from ESPN. It looks like they’re saying that as long as we don’t lose our first game to ASU we should be in. We lost to the FURD yesterday and it didn’t move the needle RPI wise so I doubt that losing again to them would drop us into the 45-55 range. Not ideal going into selection Sunday and in a precarious situation but IMO we get in by the skin of our teeth!

    This column is for everyone in contention for the precious 13. Your tasks range from the sublime to the ridiculous:

    1. No bad losses

    This is the easy group. Most, if not all, have done enough for an at-large bid and must merely avoid the dreaded “bad loss” in their respective conference tournaments.

    These teams, with their next opponent in parenthesis, are Saint Louis (La Salle or Richmond), Southern Miss (Rice or East Carolina), Cal (if Arizona State), West Virginia (if DePaul), UConn (DePaul) and Mississippi State (Georgia).

  • 1brsfan, here’s the thing, and it is my greatest pet peeve . . .

    Three and a half weeks ago, the media started calling Cal a lock, the vast majority of Cal fans agreed (because, c’mon, what Cal fan doesn’t want to think we we are a lock), and they believed it.

    I have a theory that proves right way too often: whenever a set of reasonable fans think something is a lock, like a bid or a game (even with 8 minutes left only up by 10), it usually translates that at least some players believe it, too. You following?

    And when players believe a game is over or an achievement is a sure thing, they relax, even if only a bit. That difference usually results in the opposition getting the upper hand.

    Cal’s trouble started as soon as they were called a lock for the NCAAs. Every game became a struggle, usually getting down early in every one.

    Now, you would have thought the team would have been up for yesterday’s game, same as Colorado, but they clearly were not. I kind of believe Cal would have beaten Stanfurd silly had UW won against UCLA. Yet, UW losing + a hard week of practice turned all the focus into the expectation of a title. They eased up just enough for Stanfurd to punch them in the mouth in those first minutes and send us reeling, never to really recover composure and focus.

    So, when reasonable fans note that Cal SHOULD/Will win their first Pac Tourney game (ASU beat AZ, but on their home court, just as Stanfurd beat us in Maples, but neither will beat Cal on a neutral court), I see overconfidence yet again. And while a loss to Stanfurd may currently put Cal in the play in (last four in) games, that depends on the number of at-large births available, and tends to ignore having not won a game in the three + weeks before the Tourney.

    If they play their game, they should advance at least once and should be in the Tourney, but it’s only if they play like the team they were a month ago, before the press clippings got into some of their heads.

    Seriously, with their lack of depth, they can easily lose to anyone if the refs make a few bad calls. They should know this and be focused for every game. And the fans should also know better than to think any game is a lock. But we never do, just read the majority of comments over the next week (or reread the last few) if you don’t believe me.

  • BlueNGold

    I think Cal’s struggles began when they were unable to keep pace with CU’s speed and had to play catch up all game in a hostile venue. That was pretty much the same pattern that emerged during yesterday’s game in furd land. Unfortunately, that has been a recurring theme this season when Cal played games on the road they really needed to win.

  • Woj

    Seems like the last in-game lead Cal had was 2 weeks ago. They are playing like garbage to start the game and then everything has to break right to get back into it.

    Win Thursday and its almost certain Cal is in the Dance.
    Win Friday and they are in.
    Lose Thursday and this could be the biggest Cal collapse into the NIT in 3 decades.

  • 1brsfan

    wisdom- I’ve been a Cal fan long enough to know that you’re absolutely correct. Perhaps Cal being on the bubble conversation will translate into putting some fire into the team so that they win.

    One thing to note is that Cal played both CU and Furd on Senior night. Just like we had no business winning against Oregon (took a 21-10 run to end game), our only shot to win was to not get too far behind during that early emotional start to the game. Unfortunately in both cases we got down big and with a thin bench we were unable to get closer than 2-3 points. I know it may sound ridiculous but ASU beat AZ in a game they should have lost.

  • SturdyGoldenBear

    Looks like the coaches didn’t agree with our assessment. In retrospect, while Jorge had some down games towards the end, the award is Player of the Year. Not Player of the Home Stretch. He was also awarded Defensive Player of the Year. Neither were a surprise, but to receive both is a little bit of a shock. There were some deserving candidates in both discussions, but the coaches have spoken! Congratulations, Jorge!

    Also congratulations to Allen Crabbe for making the first team, to Harper for making the second team, and to Kravish for making the Freshman team. Cobbs received Honorable Mention as well.