Cal Men's Basketball 2010-11 Preview: Season Expectations

Avinash: Cal was predicted to finish 7th by the media.

Results of the media poll, with total points and first place votes in parentheses:

1.  Washington (33)  348
2.  Arizona (1)         296
3.  UCLA (1)            281
4.  ASU                   215
5.  WSU                  191
6.  USC                  178
7.  Cal                    151
8.  OSU                  120
9.  Stanford              98
10. Oregon               47

What would you be happy with this season? How many wins would satisfy you? What results at the end of the season would you be happy with? What are your expectations for what Monty's hoopsters can do?

TwistNHook: Somebody will have to refresh my recollectoin, but where were we supposed to finish in last year's media poll?

Also, Stanford at 9 brings a smile this veteran gladiator's leathery face.

Ohio Bear: I can't tell if the question was serious, but since I like the answer, I'll answer it: Cal was picked to finish first in last year's media poll.

Kodiak: As some have eloquently stated, ain't no way we're repeating as Pac-10 champs this year.

My expectations aren't even placed in terms of wins and losses.  Quite frankly, we could go winless this year and I'd be okay with it as long as I could see the guys competing and getting better.  Historically speaking, you simply do not experience any type of success in this league when you rely heavily on freshman for significant minutes and especially if you have a big question mark at point guard. 

I'd be ecstatic if Cal finishes somewhere in the 5-6 range...understanding if they finish 7-8...pretty meh if we finish 9-10.  Realistically speaking, I think it's reasonable to expect that we'll beat the teams who are worse than us at home ('furd, OSU, Oregon)...beat at least one team we don't deserve to at home...lost to at least one team we shouldn't on the road...and the whole year is growing pains and a learning experience.  The only X-factor which makes me expect/want more is Coach Monty.  For some deluded reason, I think we're going to do better than 7th simply because we have the best coach in the conference.  Buckle up, folks - let's do this thing.

ragnarok: I'm pretty sure we were picked either first or second by most everybody last year; it was generally between us and UDub.  As it turns out, sometimes the preseason pollsters get it right.

I think the best way for me to describe my thoughts on this year are that my expectations are low, but my hopes are high.  I think this team has talent, but they're going to struggle due to so much inexperience.  The big thing for this team will be keeping their head up and continuing to compete; not getting down about losing and not letting defensive breakdowns snowball into 15-0 runs the other way.

I'm actually rather excited about this year.  I think some might have forgiven me if I hadn't wanted to shell out $800 for a pair of season tickets this year, but two years in, I'm buying into what Coach Montgomery is selling.

norcalnick: My expectations are less about wins and losses, and more about obvious progress and competitiveness.  I fully expect Cal's offense to be ugly, perhaps even ugly than the average Ben Braun offense.  The two players who will get the most minutes, Jorge Gutierrez and Harper Kamp, are defense first players known for toughness more than finesse.  So I want to see a team like USC last year who overachieved behind a surprisingly suffocating defense.

Beyond that, I just want to see signs of talent and progres from each freshmen and I'm hoping that enough new comers will emerge so that we have a pretty clear starting five going into 2011-12.

atomsareenough: Honestly, I really don't care about wins and losses so much this year, either. Everyone knows it's a rebuilding year, so it's not like we have much of a shot at repeating or even going to the NCAA tourney. I'd like a winning (over .500) season if possible, but really my main yardstick is whether we can see noticeable improvement and development over the course of the season. I want to see the new guys take to Monty's system and have the game slow down for them a bit by the end of the season. I don't mind if we get blown out a few times, and frankly I expect to get blown out by the likes of Kansas and Washington early in the season, but by the end of the season I want to see us competitive in the second half of conference play. If we go to the NIT, I'll be quite pleased.

That said, I'm still really looking forward to the season, because I'm excited about the new guys (especially Crabbe and Bak Bak), and can't wait to learn their on-court personalities and see how they gel with each other.

LeonPowe: I don't have a different point of view to add here either. I'd love to make a post-season tournament, but am prepared for a losing season - even a bad season. I would really like to see, however, teamwork, a strong defense (which doesn't necessarily require talent, more effort, scheme and teamwork) and sharing of the ball. I will be disappointed if we fall into a pattern of our better players looking for theirs, and I will be pleased if we are a "tough out" who is scrappy and always in games.

TwistNHook: If we don't win the NCAA championship, I'm shutting down CGB forever. 

LeonPowe: Don't make promises you can't keep.

norcalnick: Agreed - a post season tournament (even on the level of the CBI) would be great both because it indicates a regular season that was reasonably successful, and it will hopefully allow for a few more weeks of practice and game experience, which could be invaluable.

TwistNHook: Reminded of the women's basketball team in 2009-2010 going to and winning the WNIT.  Ok, maybe not the greatest trophy in the world, but it was still great experience against tough teams in a tournament environment. 

ragnarok:  Yeah, I'd be happy with that type of season.  It's too bad the Bears don't have an experienced senior like Alexis Grey-Lawton to help all the freshmen along, one with the ability to take over a game all by themselves.

Ohio Bear: My expectations are not based so much on the record of this team as they are on what I see from this team from the start of the season to the end. I expect to see a team that is raw at the start of the year, getting better by the time conference play comes, and showing great improvement by the time the Pac-10 tournament rolls around. I am excited to see how Monty works with the incoming freshmen and how we come together with "Monty's guys." It's an exciting prospect for me, actually. We got a Pac-10 championship last year, getting that 50-year monkey off our back, so I have no problem dialing down expectations.

As I have said, I think an NIT appearance would be a tremendous accomplishment for this team. If that happened, I'd say Monty did a fabulous job.

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