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Golden Nuggets: Can Cal Receive an Invitation to the Big Dance?

Monty's team has arguably been better than expected this season, but could they possibly make a run for the NCAA tourney?  BearInsider investigates.

Admittedly, the Bears chances for the NCAAs are slim at this point. Winning the Pac-10 tourney is almost out of the question. As of right now, this year's team isn't constructed well to withstand the rigors of winning three games in three days; it relies on a handful of players to play heavy minutes, doesn't fare well against athletic teams, and doesn't have the one player (or players) that provide opponents with a miserable match-up.

Consequently, to succeed the team has a low margin for error, where anything from early foul trouble to a bad shooting half can cause them considerable difficulties.  Nonetheless, as young and as generally inexperienced they are, they're still very much in the postseason hunt.
While the Bears currently have the third-highest RPI in the Pac-10, but are ranked 4th in the conference by Jeff Sagardin and 7th in the conference by Ken Pomeroy.  In the latest ESPN Bracketology, Joe Lunardi has Arizona and Washington in the tourney, with USC and Washington State on the periphery of the field.
In retrospect, losing the game at Arizona is one game that could end up really hurting the Bears. That game could have given the Bears a good road win against a top team, which really would have bolstered their tourney profile. The Pac-10's turning to be hard to figure out – with Washington appearing to be clearly better than most teams, but otherwise the other nine teams could all well be capable of defeating each other on a given day.

After the jump Monty talks about his upcoming recruiting class, several new Bears start their spring semesters (including Zach Maynard and Cecil Whiteside), and BI investigates why the last few football seasons have not lived up to expectations.