The Cal Men's Basketball 2010-11 schedule was released today; take a look here. I, for one, think that this is the strongest non-conference schedule in years, and I'm definitely going to be renewing my season tickets, even if having an infant daughter keeps me from actually attending some of the games.
The 2010-11 California men's basketball schedule features up to eight nonconference opponents that won at least 20 games last season, all of which advanced to the postseason including Kansas, which is making its first visit to Berkeley since 1956, and the Golden Bears have 17 games inside Haas Pavilion, head coach Mike Montgomery announced on Thursday.
Yeah, the game against a nationally-renowned program like Kansas is huge, the sort of game the Bears used to only get in the Pete Newell Challenge, and then when that ended, not at all. But there's plenty of other good games on the schedule as well, many of them at home. New Mexico and San Diego State have long been very good teams from mid-major conferences, and both will test Cal (at the very least!), and Southern Miss is no slouch either. Not many road games, but they're against good teams, and should all be on TV. Cal will make a return visit to Iowa State in the 4th (and quite possibly the last) edition of the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series, as well as tripping to Orlando to participate in the Old Spice Classic, where they will open against Temple, and possibly face teams such as Texas A&M, Wisconsin and Notre Dame (complete bracket found here).
However, the biggest change to the Bears' schedule? No more Golden Bear Classic! Will anyone miss this lame excuse for a 4th-tier tournament? Not me, that's for sure!
If there's one concern I have, it's that, considering how young this team is going to be next year, this schedule could beat down their confidence well before conference play begins. Their 2nd game is vs. New Mexico, and they follow that up with a 3-game trip to Orlando against a loaded field. They return home for most of the rest of the non-conference schedule, then begin conference play with 3 straight on the road, at Maples then in the desert vs. the Arizona schools. It's a great resume-building schedule, but I fear the schedule-maker may have bitten off more than he could chew.