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Cal basketball season opener: Rice open thread

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Go Bears!

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It begins! Go Bears!

Location: Berkeley, CA, Haas Pavilion

Time: 8:30 PM Pacific

TV: Pac-12 Bay Area

Online: Pac-12.com

Radio: TuneIn (online), KGO 810 AM

California, ranked 14th nationally in both the Associated Press and USA Today preseason polls, opens the 2015-16 season Friday at home against Rice. Tipoff from Haas Pavilion is slated for 8:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on Pac-12 Bay Area and available for viewing on the Pac-12 Now app and Pac-12.com.

The Golden Bears enter the campaign with a lineup that features three returning starters and a recruiting class that has been rated among the five best in the country. The blend of veterans and newcomers has Cal picked to finish second in the Pac-12 this year.

Senior Tyrone Wallace, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last season, leads Cal onto the court. Averaging 17.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 4.0 apg a year ago, he was the only player in the Pac-12 to rate among the top 5 in each category. Juniors Jordan Mathews (13.6 ppg) and Jabari Bird (10.5 ppg) also contributed double-figure points in 2014-15.

Head coach Cuonzo Martin, in his second campaign in Berkeley, welcomes three talented freshman to the roster in forwards Ivan Rabb, Jaylen Brown and Roman Davis. Rabb and Brown are considered two of the top 10 freshmen recruits in the nation. Junior Stephen Domingo will also be making his debut after transferring before last season from Georgetown.

Full Court Friday on Pac-12 Network
With nine home openers in the conference Friday, the Pac-12 Network is televising all of them on its Full Court Friday. The national network will move from game to game, providing viewers with portions of live coverage from all nine contests. Mike Yam, Kevin O'Neill and Lamar Hurd will lead the coverage from Pac-12 Studios in San Francisco. The entire Cal-Rice game will air on Pac-12 Bay Area starting 8:30 p.m., as the regional networks will be home to full game telecasts of the teams in their respective regions. When each regional network does not have a full live game on, it will switch to the game-to-game coverage.

Bears Cruise in Exhibition Win
Five Bears scored in double figures, led by 17 points from freshman Jaylen Brown, as Cal ran past Carroll College of Montana, 93-58, in an exhibition game Monday night. After spotting Carroll a 7-3 lead, the Bears ran off 20 consecutive points and were never threatened. In addition to Brown, senior Tyrone Wallace added 15 points, junior Jordan Mathews had 14, junior Stephen Domingo 13 and freshman Ivan Rabb 11 points and 11 rebounds. Cal shot 53.1% from the floor (34-64) and made 13-of-29 shots from three-point range (44.8%).

New Look to Haas Pavilion
Thanks to a generous $10 million gift from the Evelyn and Walter A. Haas Jr. Fund, Haas Pavilion received much needed improvements before the start of the 2015-16 season. The upgrades include a new center-hung scoreboard with additional LED boards around the arena, an enhanced sound system, an enlarged and modernized video control room, and improved lighting for the court.

Preseason Top 25
Cal is ranked among the nation's top 25 in both the AP and USA Today preseason polls for the first time since the 2009-10 season when the Bears were 12th in the USA Today and 13th in the Associated Press rankings. The Bears come in at No. 14 in both polls at the start of this year. In addition, Sports Illustrated pegs Cal at 13th in its preseason rankings and ESPN has the Bears at No. 12 in its preseason power rankings.

Wallace Movin' Up Scoring List
Tyrone Wallace enters his senior season with 1,196 points, which ranks 25th on Cal's all-time scoring list. He needs 20 points to pass Doug True (1997-80) for the 24th spot.

21. Brian Wethers (2000-03). 1,239
22. Ryan Anderson (2007-08) 1,236
23. Jorge Gutierrez (2009-12). 1,232
24. Doug True (1977-80) 1,215
25. Tyrone Wallace (2013-present) 1,196

‘Real Talk' with the Bears
While the Bears practice, play and train during the season, meetings in Cal's locker room below the court level at Haas Pavilion tackle a different subject far from the view from their fans. One-hour "Real Talk" sessions held each weekend and moderated by director of operations Marco Harris provide opportunities to discuss just about any subject except basketball. Themes and topics can range from dealing with tough times and difficult situations, to morals and family crises. Head coach Cuonzo Martin introduced Real Talks when he was head coach at Missouri State and has carried them with him over the course of his career.

A Promise to His Grandfather
After his junior season ended last March, Tyrone Wallace explored skipping his senior year for a chance at the NBA. But after careful consultations, he elected to remain in school. One of the primary factors was a promise he made to his grandfather, who since passed away, that he would finish his studies and be the first in his family to earn a college degree. Wallace is on track to receive his bachelor's degree in social welfare this spring.

Tyson Jolly Signs with Bears
Tyson Jolly, a 6-4 guard out of Oklahoma City who is considered one of the top shooting guards in the country, signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of California, Berkeley, on Nov. 11. He starred at Putnam City West High School, where he averaged 20.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a senior in 2014-15. Named The Oklahoman's Big All-City Player of the Year that season, he is enrolled this year as a post-grad student at the Elev8 Sports Institute in Delray Beach, Florida. Jolly was a consensus top-five prospect in the state of Oklahoma, ranking second by 247Sports.cm and third by ESPN's recruiting service.

Roman Davis to Redshirt
Head coach Cuonzo Martin announced on Nov. 11 that freshman Roman Davis will use the 2015-16 season as a reshirt year.

Cal Returns to Maui in 2017
Cal will make its third all-time appearance in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational when the Golden Bears travel to Hawaii for the 2017 tournament. The field of teams that will join Chaminade at the Lahaina Civic Center also features LSU, Marquette, Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia Commonwealth and Wichita State. The championship round of the 34th edition of the tournament will be held Nov. 20-22, 2017. Cal most recently played in Maui in the fall of 2013. The Bears defeated Arkansas, in the opening round before falling to No. 7 Syracuse and Dayton. In 1996, Cal played three consecutive top-25 teams and finished third in the field, with a win over No. 25 Iowa, a loss to No. 2 Kansas and a victory against No. 15 Massachusetts.