Even after three straight defeats, Cal remains one of seven Pac-12 teams included in the most recent NCAA tournament projection by ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lunardi.
Lunardi has the Bears (14-7, 5-3) as a No. 11 seed playing against Saint Louis in San Antonio. A win in that game likely would get Cal a rematch with Creighton and Doug McDermott.
Lunardi has current unbeatens Arizona, Syracuse and Wichita State along with Kansas as his four No. 1 seeds.
Also in his projected field from the Pac-12 are No. 7 UCLA, No. 10 Colorado, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 12 Stanford (in a play-in game vs. SMU) and No. 12 Oregon (in a play-in game vs. Saint Mary’s).
With their overtime loss to ASU, the Bears dropped to No. 54 in the latest RealTimeRPI rankings. They’ve lost about 20 spots the past two weeks.
Question is: Does Cal actually move up in the RPI regardless of whether they win or lose Saturday merely because it’s playing Arizona?
Junior guard Ricky Kreklow, who has missed the past 10 games with a broken hand, practiced Thursday for the first time.
Don’t expect to see Kreklow on Saturday night against No. 1 Arizona. Next Wednesday against Stanford? We’ll see.
Alex Illikainen, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound junior power forward at Grand Rapids Senior HS in Grand Rapids, Minn., will make Cal this weekend and be on hand to watch the Arizona game, according to Scout.com.
Illikainen is rated as a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 86 junior by Scout. He also has offers from Creighton, Oregon, and Minnesota, among others.
The kid ought to love the Bay Area in wintertime. In Grand Rapids today, the high was 3 degrees with a low tonight of minus-20.
I erred in my game story this morning when I wrote the Bears have an all-time record of 1-24 against top-ranked teams. Cal actually is 2-24.
I missed their 85-70 win over UCLA at the Oakland Coliseum — played 20 years ago today — in which Jason Kidd had a triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.