Basketball: Bears faces Drake in Anaheim opener

The Cal basketball team will face Drake on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 22, in the opening round of the Anaheim Basketball Classic. Tipoff is 8:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

Drake was 18-16 last season, including 9-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Bears would face either Rice, coached by Ben Braun, or Georgia Tech in their second-round game on Saturday, Nov.24. The tournament concludes on Sunday, Nov. 25.

The opposite bracket in the eight-team event includes Saint Mary’s, Drexel, Pacific and Xavier. The Gaels, featuring Australian Olympian Matthew Dellavedova, open against Drexel on Nov. 22 at 1:30 p.m.


Football: Big Game on . . . Oct. 20!

The Pac-12 Conference release the 2012 football schedule today and nothing jumps off the Cal calendar as much as an Oct. 20 date for the Big Game at refurbished Memorial Stadium.

The game will be the eighth on Cal’s 12-game slate — the first time the Big Game ever has been played before November.

“I am very disappointed that these challenges have resulted in the moving of our rivalry game with Stanford – one of the longest standing traditions in all of college football – away from its proper place and time in the rhythm of the football season,” Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement.

“I believe that college football is unique, in large part, because of traditions like the Big Game, and we believe that those traditions should be carefully protected.”

Barbour added that both Cal and Stanford opposed the scheduling model that placed the Big Game so early. They favored a schedule that had the game set for Nov. 17. But the league’s 12 athletic directors approved one of the other proposed plans.

All four of the other traditional old Pac-10 rivalries — USC-UCLA, Arizona-Arizona State, Oregon-Oregon State and Washington-Washington State — are scheduled for Nov. 17 or later.

The Bears will open the new Memorial Stadium on Sept. 1 against Nevada, then will play at home Sept. 8 against Southern Utah.

Cal visits Ohio State on Sept. 15 before kicking off its Pac-12 schedule Sept. 22 at USC — a killer back-to-back road assignment.

The Bears play Sept. 29 at home against Arizona State, then Oct. 6 at home vs. UCLA before trekking to Washngton State on Oct. 13.

Following the Big Game, Cal plays Oct. 27 at Utah, then Friday, Nov. 2 at home vs. Washington and on Nov. 10 at home vs. Oregon.

The regular season ends Nov. 17 at Oregon State.

Here is Cal’s news release on the schedule including a Q&A with Sandy Barbour and the Pac-12 release with the full conference schedule.


Basketball: Does schedule give Bears an edge?

The Pac-12 has posted its basketball pre-season prospectus and one of the tidbits included is a chart showing which opponents each school will “miss” during the conference schedule.

With two extra teams in the league this season, playing an 18-game conference schedule will require each school to miss two opponents at home and two on the road.

Looks to me like the schedule is favorable to the Bears.

Here’s why: Cal will miss playing the Arizona schools on the road and the Washington schools at home. If you consider Arizona, Washington and UCLA the three chief threats to Cal for the Pac-12 title, the schedule allows the Bears to miss playing two of the six matchups against those teams.

None of the other three schools misses more than one of the lead contenders.

The Pac-12 prospectus tells that us Cal returns 76.5 percent of its scoring from a year ago, tops in the conference.

There are no 1,000-point career scorers returning, but Cal senior Jorge Gutierrez ranks No. 2 among returnees in scoring (803 points), assists (287) and steals (109) while teammate Harper Kamp is fourth in scoring (740) and second in rebounds (373).



Basketball: Cal-Austin Peay on Nov. 15 part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon

Cal’s opener at home against Austin Peay in the CBE Classic will be folded into ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, a 25-hour basketball extravaganza on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Cal and Austin Peay will play at 7 p.m. and the game will be carried on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.

The 19-game schedule — 17 men’s games and two women’s contests — begins at 9 p.m. Monday night (technically Tuesday at midnight ET), with Washington State visiting Gonzaga.

Saint Mary’s goes next at 11 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 (Tuesday at 2 a.m.) with a home game against Northern Iowa.

Stanford will face an opponent to be determined at 8 p.m. as part of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. That game will be shown on ESPNU.



Basketball: Breaking down the OOC schedule

Mike Montgomery would be the first to say last season’s out-of-conference schedule was TOO strong. Kansas, San Diego State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Boston College, Temple, Southern Miss . . . It was too much for the Bears, especially early in the season before they crystallized.

The gauntlet won’t be nearly so difficult this season, although road matchups against Georgia, Notre Dame or Missouri, San Diego State and UNLV won’t be easy.

No Kansas. No sexy home games. No argument there.

The Bears should devour much (if not all) of their non-conference home schedule, and that should guarantee a strong record and momentum headed into Pac-12 play.

Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of Cal’s pre-conference schedule:

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Basketball: Bears release 2011-12 schedule

Cal opens its 2011-12 season at home against UC Irvine on Friday, Nov. 11 and will play non-conference games away from home against Georgia, San Diego State and UNLV before tipping off the first Pac-12 Conference schedule Dec. 29 against USC at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears play UC San Diego in an exhibition game on Nov. 1.

In addition to Irvine, the non-conference slate features home games against George Washington (Nov. 13), Austin Peay (Nov. 15), Denver (Nov. 26), McNeese State (Nov. 28), San Jose State (Dec. 7), Jackston State (Dec. 11), Weber State (Dec. 16) and UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 19). The GWU and Austin Peay games are part of the College Basketball Experience tournament.

The Bears’ three toughest non-conference games will be played away from home. Cal faces Georgia in the semifinals of the CBE on Nov. 21 at Kansas City, then will take on either Notre Dame or Missouri the next night.

Cal visits San Diego State on Dec. 4 and plays at UNLV on Dec. 23 in its final game before the start of the Pac-12.

New conference members Colorado and Utah make their debut at Berkeley on Jan 12 and 14, respectively. Cal then returns the visit, playing at Utah on Feb. 23 and at Colorado on Feb. 26.

Cal’s game vs. Stanford will be played Jan. 29 at Berkeley at March 4 at Maples Pavilion.

In the 18-game double-round robin schedule, Cal this season will miss playing at Arizona and Arizona State, and home games against Washington and Washington State.

Here’s the Bears’ full 2011-12 schedule.


Basketball: CBE semifinal pairings announced; Golden Bears to face Georgia on Nov. 21

Cal will face Georgia on Monday, Nov. 21 in the semifinals of the CBE Classic at the  Sprint Center in Kansas City.

The other semifinal pits Notre Dame vs. Missouri at 4:30 p.m. (PST). Cal plays in the second game.

The championship game, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, will be aired on ESPN2 and tips off following the consolation final at 4:45 p.m. (PST), which will be shown on ESPNU.

Georgia, led by former Nevada coach Mark Fox, is coming off a 21-12 season, its first 20-victory campaign since 1997-98.

Cal’s complete schedule still has not been announced.


Basketball: A few notes upon my return

Hi all. Back from a vacation that was at once refreshing and exhausting. You know, the kind of vacation where you need another one afterward.

Anyway, checked first thing on the status of Cal’s 2011-12 schedule and . . . nothing yet. Apparently a few contracts to get signed along with first- and second-round home-court opponents for the CBE Classic. Those first two regional-round games will be played Nov. 13-17. The Bears join Notre Dame, Missouri and Georgia at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., for the semifinals and finals, Nov. 21-22.

A few other notes:

– Crabbe/Solomon: Obviously, neither Allen Crabbe nor Richard Solomon made the cut for the U19 national team, which begins play today in the FIBA U19 World Championships in Lithuania. In Crabbe’s case, word is he was competing very well and had a shot at the roster, then took an elbow from a teammate that gave him a broken nose and minor concussion. So they couldn’t keep him. Cal says he will be fine and the mishap won’t affect his availability for the late-summer Euro tour.

– Carter exits: Walk-on senior-to-be Nigel Carter has left the program, apparently on good terms. The 6-foot-4 guard, who played just 34 minutes over Cal’s final 16 games last season, simply wanted the chance to play more before his college days are over. That wasn’t going to happen with Cal, which is deep in the backcourt. No word on where he’s headed, but he wants to play D-I somewhere, meaning he will have to sit out this season first. 

– Anteater alert: Although we don’t have Cal’s schedule, I can tell you the Bears have a non-conference home game vs. UC Irvine on Friday, Dec. 11. Pretty exciting news, huh? The Anteaters might have been an upper-division Big West team, but their top player, senior forward Eric Wise, announced a few weeks ago he has transferred to USC. So you’ll have to wait a year to see him.