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Cal basketball: Point guard Tyrone Wallace breaks hand again, per report

More bad news for the Cal basketball program.

Tyrone Wallace, the Bears’ starting point guard and only scholarship senior, has broken his right hand for the second time this season and is unlikely to play Friday when the Bears face Hawaii in the NCAA tournament, according to a report by Yahoo Sports!

Cal issued a statement late Wednesday night acknowledging Wallace injured his hand in practice. But the school did not confirm his hand is broken. It said Wallace was being evaluated and an update on his status would be provided Thursday morning.

Wallace is the Bears’ leading scorer at 15.3 points per game and also contributes 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He was coming off a season-high 26-point performance in Cal’s overtime loss to Utah in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.

The report said Wallace suffered the injury in practice at Berkeley on Wednesday before the team traveled to Spokane.

It’s the same (non-shooting) hand he broke in January, causing him to miss five games.

If Wallace cannot play, coach Cuonzo Martin likely would start junior Sam Singer in his place.

A 6-foot-6 senior from Bakersfield, Wallace considered entering the NBA draft after his junior season in 2015, but returned in order to complete his degree and to play in the NCAA with a young, talented team that includes freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb.

The news is the latest in a tumultuous week for the program. Assistant coach Yann Hufnagel was fired Monday for sexual harassment of a female report, and Martin is part of a campus review to determine whether his response to the Hufnagel situation was prompt and appropriate.

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Cal basketball: Three freshmen who delivered for the Bears in March Madness

Cal freshmen Ivan Rabb (who has played well in recent weeks) and Jaylen Brown (who has not) both will be critical as the Bears began NCAA tournament play Friday against Hawaii and try to advance through the bracket.

Which got us thinking . . . what have been the best performances by Cal freshmen in the NCAA?

To qualify, first of of all you’ve got to play in the event as a freshman. That rules out Kevin Johnson, Lamond Murray, Leon Powe, Ryan Anderson and others of note.

One of Cal’s very best freshmen, one-year wonder Shareef Abdur-Rahim, picked the absolute wrong night to suffer through one of his worst games of his season. Abdur-Rahim, who led the Pac-10 in scoring in 1996, shot 1 for 6 and totaled just seven points in a loss to Iowa State at Dallas.

But it’s not all bad. Here are three Cal freshmen who blossomed on college basketball’s biggest stage:

— 1990: Forward Brian Hendrick had 13 points and 10 rebounds as the Bears played and won their first NCAA game in 30 years, a 65-63 victory over coach Bob Knight’s Indiana team at Hartford, Conn. Cal’s stay in the tournament ended two days later with a 74-54 loss to UConn, but Hendrick showed up and scored 12.

— 1993: Few freshmen anywhere have made their NCAA debut more impressively than Jason Kidd, who contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and the game-winning shot to a 66-64 win over LSU at Rosemont, Ill. He topped that performance by posting 11 points and 14 rebounds as the Bears ousted two-time defending national champion Duke 82-77. The Bears lost to Kansas 93-76 in the Sweet 16 at St. Louis, but Kidd had 13 points and 10 assists. Three games: 40 points, 31 assists, dozens of drooling NBA scouts.

— 2003: A decade later, Great Britain’s gift to Cal basketball delivered a dramatic game-winning 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in overtime for a 76-74 victory over North Carolina State in Oklahoma City. Midgley finished with 11 points, although two days later he was scoreless and the Bears went home after a 74-65 loss to hometown favorite Oklahoma.

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Cal basketball: Decision day will follow NCAA tournament for NBA prospect Ivan Rabb

Some time in the next two months, Ivan Rabb will make the biggest decision of his life. Will he leave Cal after his freshman season to enter the NBA and become very rich?

Right now, the 19-year-old from Oakland doesn’t want to think about it.

Front and center this week for Rabb is the NCAA tournament. Cal opens Friday in Spokane, Washington, as a No. 4 seed matched against Hawaii.

“It gives me another chance to help my team, to make a name for myself,” Rabb said.

Tami Rabb can’t stop thinking about the decision that is coming.

“As a mother, all you want is for your child to do well,” she said. “I’m probably more consumed with it than he is because I’m trying to look out for his interests.”

From the outside, the decision can appear to be a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t jump at the money NBA teams pay to top rookies?

The website DraftExpress.com projects Rabb, a 6-foot-11 forward, as the No. 14 pick in the June 23 draft. That would be worth $1,743,500 for his rookie season. If he went No. 10, as NBADraft.net suggests, that salary swells to $2,140,500.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed about growing up,” Rabb conceded. “It can change my life, change my family’s lives.”

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Cal basketball: Rival coach says Hawaii won’t back down

Coach Bob Williams, whose UC Santa Barbara team lost to Cal early in the season and to Hawaii three times in Big West Conference play, said the Rainbow Warriors won’t back down but will have to bring their “A” game to topple the Bears in Friday’s NCAA tournament opener.

“I’m hopeful they will make it a game, but they will have to play very well,” he said of Hawaii. “Cal is awfully difficult, athletically. They are so long.

“Hawaii will be ready to play. They played Oklahoma — they’re not going to be intimidated. They have a big enough chip on their shoulder, but they would have to shoot the lights out to be in the hunt.”

Williams said Hawaii’s most difficult matchup is 6-foot-11 junior forward Stefan Jankovic, who was MVP of the Big West. The Serbian-born big man can score inside but also shoots 39 percent from the 3-point arc and has the quickness to attack bigger defenders off the dribble.

The 23rd-ranked Bears may be better equipped to defend Jankovic than most Big West teams.

“He doesn’t play against someone like Ivan Rabb in our league,” Williams said of Cal’s gifted 6-11 freshman.

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Cal basketball: A quick look at Hawaii

A look at Cal’s first-round opponent in the NCAA tournament:

HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS

How they got here: Big West Conference tournament champion.

Record: 27-5 overall, 13-3/tied 1st in Big West Conference.

Streak: Won 3 in row.

Recent NCAA history: Hawaii is making its fifth NCAA appearance, its first since 2002.

All-time series vs. Cal: The Bears lead 11-1. The teams have not met since the 1998-99 season, when Cal won 71-60.

School location: Honolulu, Hawaii.

Coach: Eran Ganot, 1st season.

Top players: PF Stefan Jankovic (6-11, 245, junior) 15.7 points, 6.6 rebounds; SG Aaron Valdes 6-5, 190, junior) 14.6 points, 5.5 rebounds; PG Roderick Bobbitt (6-3, 205, senior) 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists

What else you should know: Ganot came to Hawaii from Saint Mary’s College, where he served as assistant head coach. His staff includes John Montgomery, son of former Cal and Stanford coach Mike Montomery. . . . Bobbitt is an Oakland native and Castro Valley High graduate who scored 32 points in an 84-81 loss to Oklahoma and had two other 30-point games this season. He also dished 14 assists in a win over Montana State. . . . Leading scorer Jankovic began his career at Missouri, and has played the past two seasons at Hawaii.

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Cal basketball: Bears earn No. 4 seed in NCAAs, to face Hawaii in Spokane on Friday

Cal earned a No. 4 seed will face Hawaii on Friday at Spokane, Washington, in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, ending a three-year drought in the event.

The Golden Bears (23-10) will tackle the No. 13 Rainbow Warriors (27-5), winners of the Big West Conference. John Montgomery, son of former Cal coach Mike Montgomery, is an assistant coach for Hawaii.

It’s Cal’s highest seeding in the tournament since the NCAA instituted the seeding process in 1979. Previously, the Bears were seeded No. 5 in 1994 and ’97.

Game times and TV information are expected to be announced late Sunday.

Cal, which tied for third in the Pac-12 and has won of nine of its past 11 games, faces the prospect of playing either No. 5 Maryland (25-8) or No. 12 South Dakota State (26-7) in a second-round game on Sunday.

This is Cal’s 19th trip to the NCAA tournament, its first under second-year coach Cuonzo Martin. The Bears beat UNLV then lost to Syracuse in their most recent NCAA appearance in 2013.

Pac-12 regular-season and tournament champion Oregon was tabbed as the No. 1 seed in the West, joining top seeds North Carolina, Kansas and Virginia.

Cal split two games with Oregon and nearly upset Virginia on the road.

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Cal basketball: Where the Bears fit into the NCAA tournament mock fields

Here’s how various experts view Cal’s chances of landing a spot in the NCAA tournament field:

ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Cal as a No. 8 seed.

Jerry Palm of CBS Sports says the Bears are currently a No. 7.

CollegeSportsMadness.com projects Cal as a No. 7 seed.

The website teamrankings.com projects the Bears as a No. 7 seed.

Or, check out bracketmatrix.com, which compiles projections from dozens of sources, including those that envision Cal anywhere from a No. 5 to a No. 12.

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Cal basketball: A unique postseason resume

With three weeks remaining in college basketball’s regular season, Cal has a resume unlike any in the country.

The Bears are 16-0 at home, 1-8 away from home.

Asked if he’s aware of another team with such a massive disparity between its home and road records, Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said, “Not to my knowledge . . . I’m quite sure there have been many teams like that.”

Actually, maybe not.

Dating back to the 2000-01 season, there hasn’t been a single team from one of the nation’s top six conferences – the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC – to go unbeaten at home and perform so helplessly on the road.

There are 26 Division I teams still boasting perfect home records this season, and 19 of them are projected by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi to land NCAA tournament bids. That includes Cal, which gets strong computer rankings by the RPI (23) and Ken Pomeroy (32).

But none of those 26 has such a conflicted resume. The other 25 with spotless home records also have an average of more than seven road/neutral victories. Fifteen of them have at least .500 records away from home.

Cal’s only check mark in that column was an overtime victory at Wyoming back on Dec. 5. By selection Sunday, that win will be wearing three months of dust.

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Baseball: Bears fall to Aggies, rematch Monday

Top-seeded Texas A&M avenged a loss to Cal a day earlier, posting a 4-3 victory in 12 innings on Sunday evening to force a showdown Monday that will send one of them to the Super Regionals.

Monday’s game between the Bears (36-20) and Aggies (48-12) will be played at 4:30 p.m. PT.

Cal topped the Aggies 2-1 in 14 innings on Saturday after a walk-off home run by Mitchell Kranson.