Entering a big week for Cal — with home games Wednesday against No. 17 San Diego State (8-0) and Sunday against Southern Miss (5-1), here’s where Cal sits in the Pac-10 non-conference standings and the latest Sagarin computer rankings:
1. Arizona 7-1
2. Washington State 5-1
3. Cal 5-2
5. Stanford 4-2
6. Oregon 5-3
7. USC 5-4
8. Arizona State 3-4
Oregon State 3-4
Sagarin ratings (with strength-of-schedule)
23. Washington (121)
33. Arizona (289)
38. Cal (25)
47. Washington State (312)
95. Stanford (277)
102. Arizona State (27)
117. UCLA (128)
123. Oregon (213)
125. USC (208)
284. Oregon State (341)
Four months after Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores showed Cal’s basketball program among the nation’s best, the Golden Bears ranked among the worst, according to the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) results released on Wednesday.
Cal’s GSR score for men’s basketball was 30 percent, which ranked as the lowest among teams that finished in last year’s final Associated Press Top-25 poll, according to the AP.
That came on the heels of the program’s June APR score of 967 out of a possible 1,000, including a perfect 1,000 mark for the 2008-09 school year.
So what gives?
The GSR measures graduation success over a four-year span, allowing incoming freshmen a six-year period to complete their degree. But the most recent scores are derived from the incoming scholarship class of the fall of 2003, averaged with results of the three previous freshmen classes.
In other words, players who arrived on campus as long ago as 2000. So drawing a connection between the latest GSR score and last year’s teams has no relevance because the players on the 2009-10 team are not part of the study.
Defending champion Cal, sans four senior starters from a year ago, was picked seventh today in the Pac-10 Conference annual basketball media poll.
Washington secured 33 of 35 first-place ballots and easily earned the No. 1 spot. Arizona edged UCLA for the runnerup spot. Stanford is picked ninth. The Huskies should feel good about this — the media has correctly picked the Pac-10 regular-season champion three of the past four years and 14 times over the past 21 seasons.
“It’s flattering,” coach Lorenzo Romar said of UW’s spot atop the poll. “I like our team, but I don’t know if we’re ready to win a Pac-10 yet. We got a lot of work to do.”
ESPN.com previews the Pac-10 Conference today, with Doug Gottlieb (brother of Cal assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb) picking the defending champion Golden Bears to finish sixth. There’s also a look at the league’s key players and best incoming freshmen.
Here’s the latest . . .
– BRACKET PROJECTIONS: ESPN.com bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Cal as a No. 7 seed in his mock bracket today. He has the Bears facing No. 10 Old Dominion in Oklahoma City (ugh), with Kansas State looming in the second round.
Lunardi has two Pac-10 teams in the field for the first time, with Arizona State as a No. 12, facing Maryland in San Jose. Washington is among the “first four out,” meanng the Huskies have some work to do.
Cal’s victory over Stanford — that’s four wins in a row and seven of eight for the Bears — has boosted it to No. 19 in the latest RealTimeRPI ratings.
Omar Samhan (Danville-San Ramon Valley HS) had 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, leading Saint Mary’s College (25-5) to a 69-55 win over Portland and into Monday’s championship game of the West Coast Conference tournament final against Gonzaga . . . Cory Higgins (Danville-Monte Vista HS) won Big 12 Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging 24.5 points in two victories.
With one day left in the Pac-10 regular season, here are the sorry RealtimeRPI.com ratings for the conference:
54. Arizona State
149. Washington State
174. Oregon State
Consider that No. 74 Sam Houston State (18-6) and No. 82 Indiana State (16-13) are ranked ahead of all but three Pac-10 teams and No. 99 Duquesne (14-14) is higher than six of them.
Lots going on today, so I’m a little late with this. But here goes . . .
BRACKETOLOGY: ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi still has Cal as the only Pac-10 team in the NCAA field. He projects the Bears as a No. 9 seed, matched against No. 8 Texas (Jamal Boykin, meet Damion James) at Jacksonville, Fla. This scenario would have the winner facing No. 1 Duke in the second round. A tough arrangement all around.
(My personal theory is most teams are better off being seeded No. 10 than No. 8. A No. 10 is probably only marginally inferior — if at all – -to the No. 7 team it will play. The No. 7 team beat No.10 in three of four matchups last year, although No. 7 was 15-5 the previous four years. Either way, the 7-10 winner isn’t rewarded by a matchup with No. 1, as the No. 8-9 winner is.)
Cal’s win over Arizona State boosted the Bears three spots to No. 21, according to RealTimeRPI.com. I believe that’s the Bears’ highest computer ranking of the season.
They remain 0-4 against top-50 RPI teams — No. 1 Kansas, No. 3 Syracuse, No. 7 New Mexico and No. 29 Ohio State. But they are now 5-2 against teams ranked No. 51 to 100, with wins over No. 54 ASU (twice), and No. 69 Murray State, along with splits vs. No. 56 Washington and No. 90 Arizona.
ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi must have a twisted sense of humor. Lunardi has Cal seeded No. 10 and playing No. 7 Maryland at Oklahoma City in his latest NCAA Tournament projections. You’ll remember it was the Terps who ended Cal’s season last year with an 84-79 ouster at the NCAAs in Kansas City, Mo.
The winner of the Cal-Maryland game would face either Kansas State or North Texas in the second round.
Lunardi has Saint Mary’s College as one of his “last four in” for the second straight week, projecting the Gaels as a No. 12 to face Temple in Spokane, Wash. MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE: After UConn’s victory over West Virginia, Lunardi posted an updated bracket that squeezes the Gaels out of the field. For now, anyway, he projects them as his first team out.
Lunardi has Kansas, Kentucky, Syracuse and Purdue as his No. 1 seeds.
Here is ESPN.com’s full projected bracket.
Jerry Palm on CollegeRPI.com projects Cal as a No. 13 to face Vanderbilt at Spokane, with the winner to play Michigan State or Marquette in the second round. Click here to access Palm’s bracket, then click on bracket in the left-hand pull-down box.
THE COMPUTERS: NCAASports.com has Cal at No. 23 while the Sagarin computer ratings list the Bears at No. 35.
THE POLLS: No Pac-10 teams in either of the top-25 polls. Are we surprised?