Nick Kranz: We're on the road in the Pac-12, so a split is the goal, which logically means a loss to Oregon before a win over Oregon State. Cal's crazy winning streak against the Ducks has to end eventually, and one would expect that to happen when an undefeated, top 10 Oregon squad (ed. note: this roundtable was written before the Ducks' loss to Colorado on Sunday) hosts an injury depleted Cal.
If Cal could somehow beat the Ducks that would be phenomenal, but the key game is against the Beavers. While I'm generally underwhelmed by Craig Robinson's work in Corvallis, Cal only managed to sweep OSU by a combined 4 points last year. It's a game Cal needs to win but that doesn't mean it will be easy to take.
#DYK Mike Montgomery's next win will be career victory # 668 tying him with former Maryland HC Gary Williams for 26th on all-time wins list— Cal Men's Basketball (@CalMensBBall) January 4, 2014
Avinash Kunnath: The Oregon game will be a Herculean task. The Ducks have superior forward talent and a super-efficient offense. Cal's defense will have to lock down for a second straight game, but they are going to have to prove they can slow the Ducks down, since I'm not certain they can keep up with the scoring pace. The good news is that we have over a week to prepare for Oregon.
Oregon State is a game we should win. The Beavers are an absolute mess and their defense is a sieve. A split is absolutely necessary to keep the Bears in good shape for the tournament.
Ruey Yen: Bears were able to win at Oregon last year (Bears actually swept the Ducks last year, despite how highly ranked they were), thanks to the last second game winner hit by Justin Cobbs. Although there have been some changes to the personnel of both teams, maybe (just maybe) the Bears do have a matchup advantage on the Ducks?
Despite that, I would expect and be fine with a 1-1 Oregon trip. Oregon State is still not a good team, but they did manage to beat Maryland at Maryland (Maryland is flawed team this year, but so are the Bears) earlier this year. I would not completely write them off.
Scott Chong: Bracketology in January is silly. Conventional wisdom says that you hope to split on road trips and hold serve at home. Oregon is tough, but have benefited from a soft pre-conference schedule. We'll have the size advantage, but they're a bit like a better shooting version of Dayton in the number of athletes they have on the wing and they way they attack w/ their guards. Oregon State always seems to give us trouble in Corvallis. It's like they're Monty's kryptonite. But that's the one we'd be expected to steal if we're going to stay competitive in the conference.