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Basketball: What’s next for Bears?

From here on, it was all downhill for Bears

So now what?

A win over Utah wouldn’t have boosted Cal’s seeding for the NCAA tournament, but certainly would have solidified the Bears’ place in the field.

A loss?

Make no mistake: This was their worst one all season. The Utes were No. 168, according to RealTimeRPI.com, on Thursday morning.

Still, Cal probably survives it.

The Bears entered play Thursday with a No. 49 RPI and were considered a “lock” in ESPN.com’s “Bubble Watch.”

Bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who doesn’t know everything but knows more than most of us, had Cal projected as a No. 9 seed, matched against Illinois in Philadelphia. Later, Lunardi tweeted that the Bears’ loss “inches them toward Dayton (again).”

I’m guessing the Bears will drop to a No. 10, perhaps even a No. 11 seed — but they will get into the tournament.

– Help from Oregon: The Ducks’ 80-77 overtime win over Washington in Thursday’s late quarterfinal was good news for Cal. A win by the Huskies would have given them a shot at Utah — playing its third game in three days — and a chance to play for the title on Saturday. I don’t see Utah stealing the automatic bid, but UW … maybe.

– Hot & cold defense: Cal allowed the Utes to make 8 of their first 9 shots to open Thursday’s game. Then, early in the second half, the Bears held Utah scoreless on nine consecutive possessions. But the Utes were nearly perfect in overtime: 3 for 3 from the field and 13 for 16 from the FT line.

– Rough game for a freshman: Tyrone Wallace has been a lifesaver for the depth-starved Bears, but he struggled against Utah, shooting 1 for 8 with three turnovers in 26 minutes.

– Bad numbers: Cal outrebounded the Utes 40-30 (Richard Solomon had 11), including 15 offensive boards. But the Bears cashed those second-chance opportunities into just 11 points. … The Bears had six assists in 45 minutes, only one by anyone other than Justin Cobbs. … Cal shot 4 for 12 in overtime.

Jeff Faraudo

  • joey

    Pathetic coaching by MM. Better to get a 10/11 seed anyway but could Cal just once win the conference tournament.

  • Rollonubears

    Utah winning this thing would be good for us. Washington would not.

  • 1brsfan

    Rollon- Oregon or AZ winning this would be good for us. The higher they climb the better our wins against them. Utah winning this would kill us. They could steal our bid.

  • OT

    Can U say…

    Cal…

    vs…

    Saint Mary’s…

    in the…

    FIRST FOUR…

    at…

    Dayton?

    I know you can…

  • ConcordBear

    All my hairs gonna be gone by Sunday
    Can’t stand the waiting
    No play in game
    Really hope the Bears get their ticket punched.
    Go Bears!

  • Yoda

    Cal guards were trying to do everything themselves, didn’t trust the offense, didn’t even look to get the ball in to the big guys, and Wallace was awful. I say that as a big Wallace fan, but he looked like a raw rookie yesterday.

    This team just doesn’t get what it takes to win. It’s too bad, because they are a nice bunch of guys who aren’t selfish but for some reason they don’t blend. They’ll make the tourney and flop.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Again, I didn’t think Cal played so poorly. I thought Utah played very well, sometimes well over their heads. They have bigs that have skill sets which match up well against our bigs, taking away those interior passing lanes quite often. Without a big that could play back to the basket, such a match up really puts the onus on our guards.

    Personally, I think it’s better if Utah continues their run. Cal is on the Bubble. The “how are you playing NOW” part of the equation matters more than the quality of their wins when they were hot three weeks ago. If Utah shows the committee that Cal was beat by a very hot team, it may keep Cal out of the play-in game. If Oregon makes Utah look tired (and this is game 3 for Utah, sigh), Cal’s loss looks more and more like a truly “bad loss,” and it’s play-in or NIT.

  • 1brsfan

    Today will have a bearing on whether or not we play in Dayton on Tuesday. A lot of bubble teams playing today. St. Mary’s v. Cal in San Jose??

    We played locked down D for about 10 minutes last night and Utah went 0-9. The other 30 minutes the Defense was not there. Kravish had 4 or 5 threes scored on him including the game tying shot. Not sure why he bit on the fake drive to the basket. A drive for 2 points didn’t matter at that point.

  • Kevin

    Based on our performance in Dayton last year and the body language of the team down the stretch last night, I don’t see us winning if we play on Tuesday. I don’t think we have the leadership to get us through a play in game. I’m just not sure Montgomery’s yelling and screaming persona works well anymore, or at least with this team. With a week off, maybe we perform well as an 11 seed and Cobbs and Crabbe get hot and we steal a win. Also, I don’t want to see T Wallace shoot another three pointer this year. Ugh.

  • 1brsfan

    11 seed vs. VCU in Austin is where we currently stand per Lunardi. New Mexico would be the 2nd round match up if this holds. I sure hope he’s right because we’d avoid the play-in game and would play two mid majors.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    furd was 9-17 on 3s, utah was 9-19. The Bears lost to VERY HOT shooting teams, sometimes that happens. We were one free-throw short of winning last night against a team that was lights out from deep. Loveridge nails 3-4!?? the little guy 4-6!? C’mon guys, the sky is not falling…

    I see us as an 11 or 12 seed now and NOT in the play in game. That is much better than the 7,8,9, or 10 the Bears would have gotten had they won. Only winning the tournament would have escalated the Bears into the 5-6 range, which if you notice, is exactly the same as an 11 or 12, save the preferential treatment re location.

    Looking forward to selection Sunday and March Madness! Go Bears!

  • clonedoc

    1brsfan, before you get excited about possibly playing 2 “mid-majors”, check VCU’s full court D out (+ they were Final 4 just 2 years ago) and New Mexico’s size inside. I wouldn’t pick us to necessarily beat either of those teams. I’m disappointed to say that our performance earlier in the year seems more indicative of the type of team we are than our hot streak in Feb. That streak perhaps should have ended anyway against the Oregon schools on the road, where we barely won. Crabbe not playing like a first-round pick in my mind. Hopefully then, he comes back as I’m very optimistic about next year.

  • discdude

    Team just looked totally different than a few weeks ago where it was lock down defense. Defense leads to offense for this team. They cannot just try to out-score other teams because there are really only two options during crunch time. The winning streak was based on good defense and they need to get back to that. Utah was definitely hot, but during the 2nd half stretch, Cal could have stepped on their necks and put it out of reach, and they didn’t do it. Let a desperate team stay close and sometimes bad things happen.

    By tournament time next week, they’ll have played only 2 games in nearly 3 weeks, I don’t know if this is good or bad, but they tend to start so slow that I don’t think it’s going to be an advantage. As a 10 to 12 seed, it’s going to be a tall task, but not un-doable if they play defense.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Discdude +1

    Thinking more about it, you are dead on it. I’d supplement it a bit with – sometimes Utah was moving the ball so well that Cal’s D couldn’t stop them no matter how well they played. It’s why Monty had to switch to the zone. When Utah had their O clicking, they were eating up the man to man D.

    You simply can’t beat well executed offense when in the wrong defensive set, a pick gives a slight bit of room, and then no matter how well you try to recover, good passing with proper spacing will create an open look soon enough.

    ———————

    I was seeing things exactly as you wrote in your 2nd paragraph (Cal peaked a month ago and is on the downward slide now) until realizing the above.

    Now, I think Cal can recapture the mojo of a month ago, but I think it is not really within their control.

    We need a good matchup in the NCAAs. Bigs like the ones at Stanfurd and Utah, are Cal’s kryptonite. That said . . .

    ——————————

    NCAA Selection Committee,

    As a life long Cal fan, I’m asking you to finally give Cal a favorable match-up in the early rounds of the Tourney.

    You have screwed with us for years, ever since Kidd beat Duke. You have constantly done all you could to make things difficult, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.

    – You sent Kidd and Bozeman’s undisciplined, yet ridiculously talented, team against Wisc – Green Bay, the most disciplined team since Princeton nearly beat Georgetown.

    – You sent us to Pittsburgh to play first Penn, then Pitt, years before the concept of giving a high seed a near home advantage.

    – You seeded us in the 8-9 game more times than what current bracketology would have by resume.

    – You combined these two happenstances in 2003 (still before so called “home advantage”) seeding Cal #8 in Oklahoma City, where they faced Oklahoma in the second round. Real cool.

    – You grossly under-seeded a torrid Maryland as a #10 seed to face Cal in 2009.

    -In 2010, you hoped for a Louisville v. Duke second round match-up, pitting Cal as an 8 seed, again, when their resume screamed for a last 5 to first 7 seed.

    Face it. Cal has been a on the short end of the match-up stick for ages, more than bad luck should account for. So, for once, please, let Cal be the proverbial Wisconsin – Green Bay. Give Cal a favorable matchup against a highly talented, yet, young or undisciplined team.

    Sincerely,
    A bitter, jaded, and hopelessly depressed Cal fan,
    The Wisdom Cow

  • 1brsfan

    well said Wisdom. I know the Committee reads our posts so I hope they take it to heart!

  • 1brsfan

    getting some much needed help. UVA and LsSalle went down and Tennessee is on the ropes with less than 8 to go. If that holds that’s 3 out of 4 or 5 teams that we needed to lose to keep us away from the play in games.

  • Gobears49

    Didn’t see the game but, per Yoda’s post, we AGAIN did not spend much time passing the ball into the post (perhaps because the guards recognize the post men really don’t have moves that they can use when they get the ball when they are closely guarded). That allows the defense to put emphasis on defending our guards, forcing them to take outside shots far behind the three-point line.

    Wallace may need to have some experts examine his shooting stroke, which I think looks a little funny, even more funny than most lefty shots look. This was the opinion of a pro scout that a caller on Cal’s post-game show told him. Apparently, Patrick Christopher had the same shooting stroke problem and corrected it with a lot of work.