With just over a week until Pac-12 play, it's finally time to see if the Golden Bears can live up to the lofty expectations we fans have set this offseason. Can we do it? Jeff Faraudo says no...
For the boys in blue:
Cal (8-4) beat Arkansas to open the Maui Invitational, but it has struggled to stay healthy and take advantage of subsequent opportunities. Richard Solomon (scratched eye) missed the final two games in Maui (both losses) and guards Jabari Bird (sprained ankle) and Ricky Kreklow (broken hand) are on the shelf.
Jeff Faraudo's picks: Champion -- Arizona. Stanford -- Sixth. Cal -- Seventh.
And the girls in gold:
Neither the 23rd-ranked Bears (7-3) nor anyone else will keep up with the No. 4 Cardinal (10-1) this year. Senior Chiney Ogwumike will see to that. A 32-point, 20-rebound performance in Stanford's 76-70 victory over unbeaten Tennessee on Saturday adds fuel to the argument that Ogwumike might be the best player in school history.
One more thing: Cal's women were shooting an NCAA-worst 19.6 percent from the 3-point arc through eight games before making a school-record 11 (in 27 tries) against Cal State Bakersfield.
Elliott Almond's picks: Champion -- Stanford. Cal -- Third (behind Colorado).
Let's hope Knish Kringle brings Cal better finishes than this for Knishmas! Speaking of which, the holidays has brought us all a shortage of news these past few days. Enjoy my wit instead!
Men's Swimming and Diving
- Calympian Nathan Adrian (who originally hailed from the worst state in the country, Washington) was invited to raise the 12th Man flag for the Seahawks, with two videos from the event