Avinash Kunnath: It seems like the situation will be similar to last year. Cal didn't really stand out for much of the first half of the season and appeared to be NIT-bound. Then they went on one of the craziest winning streaks I've ever seen, sweeping the two best teams in the Pac-12 with improbable win after win.
Right now it looks like the first half of that equation is in play with Cal likely to be without Kreklow and Bird for an extended period of time. Cal will most definitely struggle to get through early January and beat the tougher opponents on their schedule, particularly with five of their first seven contests at home. But when everyone comes back, I wouldn't be surprised if we made a run for it.
Sam Fielder: We talked at the outset of the season about how depth was one of the strengths of this team so now we get to see it. Obviously losing Kreklow's hustle and shooting and a player of Bird's caliber hurt, but then again, it also gives some of the other players more experience. The hard thing is that the Pac-12 is so deep that any extended loss will hurt, but IF both guys are able to come back full strength by the time the Pac-12 tournament gets underway, I still think we're poised for a deep run in both the P12 and the NCAA. So no, the injuries don't really affect my outlook on the season this year...unless they turn out to be more serious or long-lasting than originally thought.
Ruey Yen: Bears just don't have the depth to lose any of the rotation players. Losing two is a disaster in the making. I also thought that the 3-point shooting from Kreklow and Bird may be a big difference for the Bears this year (since we did not have consistent 3-point shooting last year), and this happened. Unlike this time last year when Cal played a quite good Harvard team at home, Bears should be able to beat
Fordham Furman without hitting a 3. Nevertheless, without Kreklow and/or Bird for an extended amount of time, it would be great if the Bears can stay at around 0.500 in a vastly improved Pac-12.
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