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Cal Basketball: Looking Into My Crystal Ball

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For this post about predicting the rest of the men's bakbaketball sked, this is normally where I write those ever so witty introductions. Like that one involving Marshawn. Or that other one involving Marshawn. I'd probably write one right here about crystal balls and looking into the future. And it'd be all about things that previously transpired like the Teapot Dome Scandal. Yknow, something about how oddly named that scandal is. Without the -gate suffix and all. Ever so witty.

But I feel lazy. So lazy. So, instead, let's just check out the brand new theme song for Brock Mansion and his Party Yacht (PS Sorry about getting this version cleaned up for broadcast, the real version has embedding disabled):


First, let's take a look at Cal's schedule to date:

11/15 PAC W 68-56
11/18 SF W 87-74
11/20 UTPA W 85-58
11/24 NCAT W 82-47
11/28 @ UNLV W 73-55
11/29 vs. FSU L 80-77
12/03 DEP W 77-67
12/07 @ MO L 93-66
12/10 @ UTAH W 72-69
12/20 UNR W 75-66
12/22 COL W 83-48
12/27 DART W 98-62
12/28 PORT W 81-61
1/02 UA W 69-55
1/04 ASU W 81-71
1/08 @ WSU W 57-50
1/10 @ UW W 88-85 OT
1/17 @ STAN L 75-69
1/22 ORST L 69-65
1/24 ORE W 76-69
1/29 @ UCLA L 81-66
1/31 @ USC L 73-62
2/05 UW W 86-71
2/07 WSU W 71-63

That puts us at 18-6 and 7-4 in conference. Here are the conference standings:

2008-09 Pac-10 Standings
TEAM CONF GB OVR
UCLA #12 8-2 - 19-4
Washington #25 7-3 1 16-6
Arizona State #23 7-4 18-5
California 7-4 18-6
USC 6-4 2 15-7
Arizona 6-5 16-8
Stanford 4-6 4 14-6
Washington State 4-7 12-11
Oregon State 4-7 10-12
Oregon 0-11 6-17

Ok, so Cal is right in a solid position here to end in the top half of the Pac10. But how tough will the end of our season be? Let's take a look, game by game.

First up, the Cardinal.

Stanford_medium

via ithinked.com

Last time out, we lost to Stanford in Monty's return to Maples. It was a very close game up until the tail end. Take a look at the graphic they have there, showing the chronological scoring of points. It was very tight up until about 7 minutes left in the game. Then, Stanford took off.

Since then, they have essentially done what we did, beat Oregon and WSU, lose to UCLA, USC, and OSU. Although they did lose to Washington. Now, they have fallen to the lowest part of the standings at 4-7 in Pac10 Play.

This should definitely be a tough game. Stanford is a tough team and beat us last time out. But, for some reason, I feel like we can take this one. Since the loss to Stanford, Cal got in a bit of a funk. But victories over WSU and UW seemed to knock Cal out of it. We are finally starting to play better b-ball. Plus, I feel we will be motivd to avenge out previous loss.

I do not feel particularly confident about this game, but let's tentatively put it down as a W. That puts us at 19-6 and 8-4 in conference play. Tentatively.

And, after that, Oregon.

Oregonducks_medium

via deadspin.com

Last time out again Oregon, Cal won. But not by a big margin. Which, given Oregon's troubles was a bit frustrating at the time. Of course, a win is a win is a win is a win is a win, so who is to quibble about that? And we see Bryan Anger. Learn more here, here, and here.

Oregon is not a good team. They have yet to win a single Pac10 game. Let us hope and pray to the Great Marshawn that we are not their first conquest. Or a conquest.

Somehow they beat Alabama. Wow, Alabama is BAD at b-ball. Do they have Nick Saban coaching b-ball, too? They really gave up a LOT to get that guy, didn't they?

Anyway, this is pretty much the only game I feel comfortable about Cal winning. And I don't even feel that comfortable about it. But it seems likely that if we are to win any game over the rest of the season, this would be Culprit #1. That would put Cal at 20-6 and 9-4 in Pac10 play. 20 wins! In Monty's first season. That would be exciting.

After that, we have Hopeandchangetball, OSU.

Obama-nope_medium

via www.roflshirts.com

After Cal's last game with OSU, a stunning loss, Cal fans from across the world were combing through OSU Coach Craig Robinson's tax returns. Hoping against hope to find some, anything, to get Robinson removed as Coach. There have to be some unpaid taxes somewhere! Unpaid taxes are Obama's secret Achilles heel!

Well, while OSU is MUCH improved under Coach Robinson than last year's squad, they are still not that good of a team. They are currently in 9th place in the Pac10 with a 4-7 record in Pac10 play. They do have some solid victories over teams like Cal, Stanford, and even USC. Two of those teams Cal hasn't even beaten (yet).

So, it is not so easy to just scribble "Win" into this column. But I'd like to think that Cal has a chance here. Cal didn't score for the last 4 minutes of that game. They lost by 4 points and, if you check the point chart at the ESPN story, you'll see it flattens out with about 4 minutes left in the second. Literally, no points scored. Will that happen again?

I sure hope not! But I feel that Cal can win this game. It's so tough, because this year in the Pac10 has a lot of parity. OSU beats USC at home and then us on the road. Who am I to say we can then beat OSU on the road? This is a lot of optimism. But I feel that Cal will want to avenge the stunning loss and I think that we can do it. So, pencil this one in with even less confidence than the Stanford potential victory. That would put us at 21-6 and 10-4.

After that, we have USC.

Romeo_medium

via images.smarter.com

Last time we played Cal, just a week or so ago, USC beat us. It was a game similar to the Stanford game, insomuch as it was very tight until the end. There were many complaints of calls going USC's way and all the lucky bounces going USC's way. Cal was only down by 2 with about 5:30 left in the game. Then, USC scooted its way to the 11 point victory.

Hopefully, with some home cooking things will be different. But this will definitely be a very difficult game. No matter how many rappers they have on the team, USC is a tough draw. However, again, I feel that we can take them. I have no idea why I am filled with such optimism. It goes against everything we stand for. Especially considering that would put Cal on a 6 game winning streak. A 6 game winning streak! I mean if you look at each game individually, you can make honest arguments as to why Cal will win each one. You can also pretty much make honest arguments as to why Cal will LOSE each one, too. Oh sweet parity.

But the 6 game winning streak makes me feel nervous. I mean God wouldn't allow Cal to have that level of success? Even talking about it now makes me feel nervous that I'm jinxing the team. But I feel that if we can have our inside games (i.e. Wilkes) working as he was against USC last time and we have our outside game (PChris and Randle) working as we've seen the last few games, we can be a really kwality team.

So, is this just pure BS inanely stupid bullish optimism to put it down as a win? Will Monty have Cal ready to avenge that road loss? Will Jorge NOT turn the ball over 4,000 times like in the last game? I want to say yes. And it's my blog and it seems wildly unlikely that what I write here has ANYTHING to do with reality. SO, LET'S DO IT! GO BEARS! That puts us at 22-6 and 11-4.

And then, if I had any optimism after that USC game, it'll be squashed by our next opponent, CBH and The Ben Ball Warriors (great island rhythms band name, right?), UCLA.

10-31-05-front_medium

"CBH, AA, JH, ND, and the rest of the Ben Ball Warriors are ready to Rock Out! via www.islandfever.com

I'm not going to spend a lot of time here. UCLA might not be as good as in year's past, but they still embarrassed us in LA. I am not so blinded by The Ben Ball Warrior's shirts up there to miss that. If Oregon is the game we are most likely to win, this is the game we are most likely to lose.

Are we more likely to lose here than beat Oregon? Probably yes. So, that would put us at 22-7 and 11-5. There goes our winning streak! ;)!

After that, we have our last trip to the Arizonas. First up, Arizona.

Uasign1_medium

via catalog.arizona.edu

It has been a LONG time since we saw the Arizonas. We play them on March 5. We hosted them on January 2. January 2! I was still hung over from New Year's Eve on January 2! Or at least I would have been were I to drink. At lot has changed since then. So, it is tough to gleam a lot from our victory over them last month. Arizona has sort of been up and down like us. Losing streaks followed by winning streaks. Right now they are in the Win Mode. By the time March rolls around, who knows?

But they have done something we weren't able to do: beat OSU. Twice. And I did just have Cal go on a billion game winning streak. So, let's try to even out the karma by having Cal lose here. See, Gods Of Competitive Sports, I'm not tempting you. And by bringing up the fact that I'm not trying to anger the woofing gods, I am also, in no way, angering the woofing gods. Man, these woofing gods are so insecure, everything I do angers them. I feel like a middle aged parent dealing with their teenage daughter. Triple Le Sigh!

In this game, keep an eye on Jordan Hill. He's averaging a double double on the season, which is pretty impressive. I wouldn't be shocked if he carves us up. Happy now, emotionally insecure woofing gods? And no, you can't go to that Jonas Brothers concert. Those guys are like 3 robots sent back in time to bore us all. Also, you are grounded! The loss here puts us at 22-8 and 11-6 in the Pac10. If my math is accurate. Which, likely, it isn't.

Our final regular season game is against ASU on March 7. Maybe these guys will be yelling their finest obscenities at our team that day.

Pregame_jpg_medium

"Looks like Heaven's easier to get into than Arizona State" via inkspot.customink.com


Similar to the Arizona game, about 2 months will pass between the two games. We book-end the Pac10 season with the Arizonas. Makes it difficult to predict this game based off of our earlier victory over ASU. ASU is currently tied with us in the Pac10 standings, but apparently has the tie-breaker. They are ranked. This is totes a good team and, independent of jiving with the woofing gods, we are likely to lose this game. James Harden is an offensive force.

I realize this puts us on a 3 game losing streak at the end of the season. Seems about as likely as that 6 game winning streak previously. Cal seems to be a bit of a different team on the road. Both Arizona and ASU are good teams and will pose a great challenge for Cal. A loss here puts us at 22-9 and 11-7.

Final Thoughts.

Well, parity reigns in the Pac10 this year. I could see Cal losing many of the games I predict they win up there, especially OSU on the road and USC at home. That could potentially have us on a 5 game losing streak to end the year. I could also see us losing to Stanford quite easily. I am very happy we swept the Washingtons, because we are going to need all the wins we can muster with the uncertainty going forward. Of the 3 losses I predicted, the one we are most likely to win would appear to be Arizona. But that will totes be a tough game. Totes def.

I think that unless there is a huge Cal-lapse (losing to every team except for Oregon and hell let's throw in Oregon, too), we make the tourney. Even if we suffer a few rough losses in the regular season, we hopefully can get a few opportunities to pick up wins in the Pac10 Tournament. We'll see. We might find ourselves as a 11 seed or something like that, but after the mediocrity of the last few seasons, that would be amazing.

So, these are my thoughts on the rest of the season. What are yours? Go Bears!