Well, Cal made it past Drake last night. You can read more here:
From the opening tip to the final buzzer, Drake refused to go away. Although conventional wisdom often calls for teams from lesser leagues to slow the tempo or play a quirky system, the Bulldogs hung their hat on a hard-nosed man-to-defense and pushed the pace whenever they could. It didn't help things that team energizer and new-fan-favorite Ricky Kreklow re-injured his foot during warm-ups and wasn't able to go.
Even so, Cal ran out to an early 19-9 lead buoyed by some nifty footwork by Richard Solomon and clever ball movement inside to Richard Thurman.
But the Bulldogs got hot from the perimeter while the Bears struggled to put up good shots. In particular, Allen Crabbe had trouble getting free for any decent looks and ended up sitting with foul trouble. Cobbs wasn't able to pick up the slack and the Bears left points on the board at the free throw line. The lead dwindled to 24-23 at the 5 minute mark.
Monty was forced to go to his bench and put in Bak Bak. Moments later, Drake exploited the inside match-up to tie things up 24-all. Cal battled back using a couple of Smith free throws and a nice transition drive by Wallace to regain the lead, 27-24.
Thurman made a nice lefty hook, and Cobbs got himself to the free throw line, but Drake responded to every Cal score with jumpshots of their own. It was all timed up, 33 a piece, at the half.
With Cobbs and Crabbe struggling, it was left to Wallace and...Thurman to carry the scoring load. On the other hand, Drake kept moving the ball and making shots. Previous hints of inconsistent Cal defense were exposed with alarming regularity. With every made bucket, you could see Drake's confidence growing. This is exactly the script which reads, "Upset City."
Now, Cal goes up against Georgia Tech. You can see the full bracket here. GaTech beat Rice to make it to the second round. I was kind of hoping for a Cal-Rice matchup, because Rice is actually the school where former Cal Coach Ben Braun landed. However, it was not to be! Cal and Georgia Tech are, however, the schools that fought over Stanford Jonah, an old Cal fight song which has a Georgia Tech equivalent. Who wrote it first?
The game will be at 9 PM PST/Midnight EST. It is being aired on ESPN2. So, if you are an east coast kinda dude (or dudette!), start brewing that coffee. But since you are a Cal fan, make sure it is organic, fair trade!
If Cal beats Georgia Tech, they proceed to the Championship game, it would appear. Their opponent there would be either Saint Mary's or Pacific. So, if Cal can defeat GaTech, it could be a big local Championship bracket. GO BEARS!!