27

Basketball: On Zellers, Withey and Franklin

No underdogs survive as the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament wraps up on Friday . . .

   — No. 1′s Kentucky and North Carolina, No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Baylor all advanced to the regional finals.

   — Quite a night for the Zeller family. UNC’s Tyler Zeller had 20 points and 22 points in a 73-65 win over Ohio, and Indiana’s scored 20 in a 102-90 loss to Kentucky.

   — Think Arizona could have used 7-foot center Jeff Withey this season? The junior transfer became just the fifth player in NCAA tournament history to block 10 shots in a game as Kansas  beat North Carolina State 60-57.

   — Then there’s one-time Cal guard Gary Franklin Jr., now playing for Baylor. The Bears of the Big 12 are one game away from the Final Four, but Franklin has yet to play in any of the team’s three NCAA games and has scored just six points in Baylor’s past 11 games.

0

Basketball: Colorado stays tied for 2nd with Cal

Buffaloes edge Ducks in showdown at Boulder . . .

   — Colorado 72, Oregon 71: Nate Tomlinson hit one of two free throws with 1 second on the clock and the Buffaloes (16-7, 8-3) stayed unbeaten improved to 7-0 at home in the Pac-12 and stayed tied for second. Freshman Spencer Dinwiddie led Colorado with 16 points. The Ducks (16-7, 7-4) dropped into a tie for fourth place despite 18 points from Devoe Joseph and 13 points/13 rebounds from E.J. Singler, who was called for the foul that sent Tomlinson to the FT line.

   — Washington 69, USC 41: The first-place Huskies (16-7, 9-2) outscored the last-place Trojans (6-18, 1-10) by a 40-22 margin in the second half to remain one game ahead of Cal and Colorado. Tony Wroten had 13 points and Terrence Ross had 10 points and 14 rebounds for UW. USC shot 29 percent, including 1 for 16 from the 3-point arc.

   — Arizona 56, Stanford 43: The Cardinal (16-7, 6-5) shot just 25.4 percent (16 for 63) and lost  despite attempting 16 more shots than the Wildcats (16-8, 7-4). Arizona improved to 4-2 in Pac-12 road games and got a weekend sweep in the Bay. Kyle Fogg scored 14 to lead Az, which shot just 38 percent. Stanford has dropped four of its past five games.

   – UCLA 63, Washington State 60: Joshua Smith scored 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting and the Bruins (13-10, 6-5) salvaged a weekend split in Washington. Brock Motum scored 25 for the Cougars (12-11, 4-7).

   — Oregon State 76, Utah 58: The Beavers (15-8, 5-6) rode 20 points from Jared Cunningham to an easy win over the host Utes (5-18,2-9). Utah had 22 turnovers.

6

Football: Cal LB Mychal Kendricks named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year

It’s a good day for Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Receiver Keenan Allen, left tackle Mitchell Schwartz and punter Bryan Anger also earned first-team honors, and defensive end Trevor Guyton was second-team. Stanford QB Andrew Luck was the Offensive Player of the Year and Stanford coach David Shaw was Coach of the Year.

A bit more to come …

49

Football: Cal’s bowl outlook and more

Just a few tidbits in the aftermath of Cal’s 47-38 victory over Arizona State …

–I talked to a few bowl officials from around the Pac-12 today and they all had really good things to say about Cal. I’ll have a story about that in tomorrow’s paper. The Bears could land in a game as high as the Alamo Bowl – the No. 2 Pac-12 bowl behind the Rose Bowl – although lots of factors come into play here. First, Stanford and Oregon would each have to get invited to Bowl Championship Series games, which boost other Pac-12 schools a little higher on the bowl ladder. The Alamo Bowl would then likely be choosing between Cal, Utah and Washington. The Holiday Bowl, which picks third, also likes Cal very much. And if the Bears slip past them, I’d be very surprised if they don’t get chosen by the Sun Bowl, in which Cal has never played. The Las Vegas Bowl is looking unlikely, and the chances of Cal playing in front of the local fans at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl appear pretty remote, though Gary Cavalli, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl executive director, is confident in landing a quality team from the conference.

A few factors to consider:
Cal has played very well late in the season and that makes a strong impression. Rick Hill, the Alamo Bowl’s director of marketing and communications, also noted that the Bears have been on ESPN the past two weeks against Stanford and Arizona State, so the San Antonio market (where the Alamo Bowl is played) has been exposed to Cal and the team has put up strong showings. But Hill also added that Washington has been televised in San Antonio even more this season.

Mark Neville, the Holiday Bowl’s director of communications, said his bowl places heavy emphasis on the “football” aspects for choosing a team – win/loss record and head-to-head matchups, as opposed to how many fans will travel, the potential for TV ratings, etc. Besides, Neville said Pac-12 (or Pac-10) schools traditionally travel well to the Holiday Bowl no matter who is chosen.

The Alamo Bowl, which pits a Big 12 school against a Pac-12 school, looks for a good built-in storyline when pairing up two teams. Since the Big 12 regular season doesn’t finish until next weekend, the Alamo Bowl won’t be extending any invites until then, which means other Pac-12 bowl selections also will have to wait in the trickle-down effect.

–Isi Sofele now ranks sixth on Cal’s single-season rushing list with 1,266 yards: The next back ahead of him is Marshawn Lynch, who gained 1,356 yards in 2006.

–No word yet on the seriousness of freshman cornerback Stefan McClure’s injury on Friday night. Obviously his health is pretty big for this team looking to the future.

–Friday’s late kickoff was absolutely brutal from a deadline standpoint, which is why I really didn’t get a chance to blog during or after the game. I was writing for our various print editions as the game was unfolding. Glad to see the spirited dialogue carried on regardless …

–Cal is taking most of next week off. We don’t know when they’ll resume practice just yet, so blogs may be light in the coming days.

That’s all for now …

67

Football: Cal-ASU first quarter recap

Cal leads Arizona State 17-7 after one quarter, and neither team’s defense has made much of an appearance so far. The Bears scored on all three of their possessions — a 48 yard Tavecchio field goal, an 18 yard Sofele TD run and a 16-yard option keeper from Maynard, set up by a Kendricks 33-yard fumble return. But the Sun Devils are carving up Cal’s defense pretty good …

Some first quarter stats:

First downs
Cal 7
ASU 7

Rushing yards
Cal 5-79
ASU 16-91

Passing
Maynard 4-7-0
Osweiler 4-5-0

Passing yards
Maynard 52
Osweiler 72

Total yards
Cal 131
ASU 163

Time of possession
Cal 4:43
ASU 10:17

4

Football: Wednesday practice update

Here’s some random tidbits from the practice field as Cal prepares for Friday’s game at Arizona State …

–Quarterback Zach Maynard hesitated to call his deep pass to Keenan Allen on the first play of the game against Stanford his best throw all season. But there’s no denying it’s in the running. Maynard lofted a deep pass that was on the money to a streaking Allen, and it’s a play that the two worked a lot on leading into the game. “We’ve been talking about it,” said Allen, Maynard’s half-brother. “His long balls haven’t been there so we’ve worked on it at practice. I tried to tell him to slow down a little bit, let me get out there a little bit further (before throwing it).”

Citing Arizona State’s quickness on defense, Maynard said it will be important for him to look off his receivers and spread the ball around.

–Some players claim they don’t pay attention to statistics. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks isn’t one of them. The senior is well aware that he ranks among the Pac-12 leaders in tackles (he’s third with 88). “It’s cool,” Kendricks said. “No. 1 would be better, but I feel like I’ve had a successful season. I’m happy.” I know Kendricks is only listed at 6-feet tall, but standing next to him for the first time, I was still struck by his size (or lack of it). I’m talking about height only – he’s listed at 240 pounds. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s viewed by NFL scouts. The guy can sure close on a ball carrier fast.

–Linebacker David Wilkerson, who has missed the past two games with a bruised knee, has returned to practice, but his status for Friday night’s game is unknown. Fellow OLB Chris McCain, still recovering from a concussion, wouldn’t return until the bowl game, if then.

–The Bears will practice Thursday morning, then hold a Thanksgiving meal later in the day before flying to Phoenix. The dinner will take place in the Student-Athlete High Performance Center, the team’s first official function in the new complex, according to coach Jeff Tedford.

Hope everybody has a Happy Thanksgiving!