Cal needs to win one more game — on the road and possibly without one or even two starters — to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden for the semifinals of the NIT.
The Bears (21-13) is in Dallas to face SMU (25-9) on Wednesday night. The winner advances to New York City for the semifinals and finals on April 1 & 3.
But this won’t be easy. After home victories over outmanned Utah Valley and an Arkansas team that couldn’t make a basket for most of the first half, the Bears play at SMU, where the Mustangs are 17-1 this season.
Cal also could be shorthanded. Starting forward Richard Solomon, the Pac-12’s top rebounder, missed the first two NIT games after sustaining a concussion at home. No other details have been provided. Solomon is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game.
Starting guard Ricky Kreklow had his nose bloodied and broken in the second half of Monday’s 75-64 win over Arkansas. He is expected to wear a protective mask and try to play against SMU.
The Mustangs, led by coaching legend Larry Brown, beat UC Irvine and LSU in their first two NIT games.