With a win over Stanford, Cal secured a fourth-place finish in the conference--far off from the predicted seventh place finish. A winning record in the Pac-10 this year is not something most Cal fans were expecting three months ago.
"I think winning 10 games is fabulous," Montgomery said. "We expected to have four players we don't have. I don't know if we would have ever played this lineup with the guys we thought we would have had. And that might be a good thing, since this group has such good chemistry."
Coming off a season in which the Golden Bears rode four seniors to 24 wins and into the NCAAs, in which they knocked off Louisville before losing to eventual national champion Duke, this Cal team was built to struggle mightily while testing the patience of a coach.
That's because along with the youth and the antacids that come with it, there was a decided lack of height and a notable paucity of depth. Max Zhang, the 7-foot-3 center who contributed last season, returned to China in November. Forward Omondi Amoke was dismissed from the program last spring, and guard D.J. Seeley transferred.
"We have been through a lot," Kamp said. "I credit my teammates and the coaches for staying focused and just trying to do as well as we can, especially with the adversity we have been playing through."
But everything about this team comes back to Montgomery, who may be having his best year since arriving in the Bay Area to coach Stanford a quarter-century ago. He has had much more experienced teams at both schools, with vastly more talent and size.
Yet this is a team the coach has to like, a team Old Blues have to love. These Bears are a long shot for the NCAAs, but four months ago they were a no-shot.
After the jump the Bears set their sights on the Pac-10 tournament, Shaq Thompson pledges to join the Bears, and Rugby opens Premiere Division play with an impressive victory.
- Faraudo's game thread follows along as Cal built a big lead and never looked back.
- Monty, Harper Kamp, and MSF talk at the post-game press conference about the season, the Pac-10 Tournament, and how the younger players fared this season. Monty was quite pleased with a fourth-place finish in the conference.
- Allen Crabbe and Richard Solomon both received invitations to the tryouts for this summer's USA under-19 team.
- BearInsider records a 17-minute conversation with MSF covering his life both on and off the court.
- The Pac-10 recently ran an insightful feature on Brandon Smith.
- De'End Parker has decommited from Cal and committed to UCLA.
- Faraudo has 20 questions for Alex Rossi, who talks about his season-ending injury, watching the games from the sidelines, and his plans for returning to the court next season.
- Shaq Thompson (Syd'Quan Thompson's little brother) has committed to Cal. As a five-star safety, he's believed to be the best skill recruit in CA this year.
Niners Nation's mock draft has Cameron Jordan reuniting with Tyson Alualu as the Jags choose him with their first-round pick (16).
- No. 10/11 Cal opened the DeMarini Classic with a 3-2 loss to Northwestern. They bounced back from the loss to defeat IPFW 18-8. Jolene Henderson threw a no-hitter to lead the Bears to an 8-0 win over Murray State. The Bears also defeated Iowa 6-2.