The toughest teams Cal will play in its non-conference schedule are the Creighton Bluejays and the Arkansas Razorbacks. Creighton could be really good in the upcoming season and Arkansas will have some question marks.
The Golden Bears play a bunch of mid-majors, which means they can rack up the wins. They will also have a really good freshman on their team that has the talent to be one-and-done. That player is Jabari Bird and he is ranked No. 23 in the class of 2013 (according to ESPN).
Bird will get the chance to start right away thanks to leading scorer Allen Crabbe no longer being on the team.
If Bird can meet expectations this team will have a very solid backcourt and could be a surprise team in the Pac-12.
It is important to note that if Cal does beat Arkansas it will have to take on the Syracuse Orange next in the Maui Invitational. A win in that game and the Golden Bears will be ranked–assuming they didn’t get beat before the Maui.
California made the dance last season as a No. 12 seed. It has the talent to make the tourney once again, but it will also have the talent to crack the top 25. We will just have to wait and see if either one will actually happen, though, but this is definitely a team to watch out for in the 2013-14 season.