A Pac-12 newcomer keeps the conference alive in the NCAA tournament . . .
— Colorado 68, UNLV 64: The Buffaloes (24-11) gave away most of a 20-point lead, but held on to knock of the sixth-seeded Runnin’ Rebels (26-9) at Albuquerque, N.M. Askia Booker scored 16 points off the bench for CU while Austin Dufault had 14 points and Andre Roberson had 12 points and 16 rebounds. UNLV shot 32 percent.
The season didn’t end the way the Bears wanted, but the next order of business is negotiating a contract extension for coach Mike Montgomery.
Quarterback Zach Maynard has the look of a veteran as the weather finally allows the Bears to get in their first workout of the spring.
Unless you think the CBI is worth your time, it was a lost night for the Pac . . .
— Bucknell 65, Arizona 54: The Bison (25-9) of the Patriot League eliminate the top-seeded Wildcats (23-12) in an NIT opener at Tucson. Solomon Hill had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Cats, who shot 35.4 percent.
— Oregon State 80, Western Illinois 59: The Beavers (20-14) got 22 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals from San Leandro High product Jared Cunningham and cruised to victory in their CBI opener at Corvallis.
South Florida routs Cal
FINAL SCORE: South Florida 65, Cal 54. Obviously nowhere near as close as the final score. The biggest USF lead was 32 points. Kamp finished with 19 points, Gutierrez had 11 points and six assists and Crabbe had 10 points and eight rebounds. Bears finish 24-10. USF (21-11) advances to play Temple on Friday in Nashville. I come home.
3:35 2nd H: USF leads 61-38. At least the Bears have topped the 37 points they scored against WSU back in 1988.
15:14 2nd H: No miracle comeback coming in the building where BYU rallied from 25 points down against Iona the night before. South Florida leads 45-20. Kamp doing all he can. Everyone else is powerless. Obviously, what everyone has been saying about the Pac-12 is true.
Steve Corkran, one of our NFL writers, covered Cal’s pro day while I await the Bears’ NCAA tournament game tonight at Dayton, Ohio. Here’s his report.
Five keys to a Cal victory over South Florida:
— Start strong. Cal has won just once in its past four games. The Bears need some early positive feedback to provide confidence and momentum.
— Follow the leaders. Seniors Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp know this could be their final game. They looked at peace with things Tuesday and will be ready to play tonight. Freshman David Kravish has never been on a stage like this. He needs to keep an eye on Kamp.
— Get a good perimeter game from Allen Crabbe. The Bears won’t easily score inside or in transition against this team. They need to make some 3-pointers. If Crabbe hits three or more, the Bears have a chance.
— Do not fall behind by double digits. Because of the pace USF plays, a 10-point deficit feels like 20 or 25, according to Villanova coach Jay Wright.
— Score at least 65 points. The Bears are 21-5 when they reach 65; the Bulls 3-5 when they allow that many.
President Barack Obama did not pick between Cal and South Florida in the NCAA tournament bracket he completed for ESPN, but has the winner of tonight’s First Four game losing to Temple on Friday.
He also picked Purdue to eliminate Saint Mary’s.
Guess he figures he’s already got the Blue State votes.
Here is the President’s full bracket.
Cal senior guard Jorge Gutierrez was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 20 team.
Sophomore Allen Crabbe was named to the second team.
Rounding out the five-man NABC District 20 squad: San Leandro HS grad Jared Cunningham (Oregon State), Terrence Ross (Washington), Brock Motum (Washington State) and Solomon Hill (Arizona).
Also on the second team: Andre Roberson (Colorado), Tony Wroten Jr. (Washington), Lazeric Jones (UCLA) and E.J. Singler (Oregon).
Other Bay Area players honored by the coaches: Richmond’s Wendell McKines (New Mexico State), Oakland’s Damian Lillard (Weber State) and Oakland’s Will Cherry on the District 6 first team, San Jose’s Drew Gordon (New Mexico) on the District 17 first team,
What a night for the Pac-12 in the little dance . . .
— Stanford 76, Cleveland State 65: Aaron Bright scored 17 points and Anthony Brown had 15 points and 12 rebounds and the host Cardinal (22-11) gradually pulled away.
— Oregon 96, LSU 76: Devoe Joseph scored 25 points and the Ducks (23-9) routed the Tigers at Matthew Knight Arena. Five players scored double digits for Oregon.
— Washington 82, Texas-Arlington 72: The Pac-12 regular-season champs (22-10) gradually pulled away at home. Terrence Ross had 22 points for the Huskies.
And in the CBI . . .
— Washington State 89, San Francisco 75: The Cougars (16-16) got 24 points from Brock Motum and 18 points from Reggie Moore to win in San Francisco.