California Golden Bears: Pac-12 Contender or Pretender?

By Trevor Lowry
California Golden Bears
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

There is no way that the California Golden Bears are being predicted to win the Pac-12 in the 2013-14 college basketball season. However, does that mean they are pretenders or could they still be a contenders?

One word: contender.

California may not be the favorite to win the conference title and it may be losing its best player in Allen Crabbe, but it will still have some talent.

Justin Cobbs is the returning leading scorer and Jabari Bird is set to have a big freshman year. Cobbs averaged 15.1 points per game last season and Bird is ranked No. 23 in the class of 2013, according to ESPN.

Both should help make up one of the best backcourts in the Pac-12 in the upcoming season.

The Golden Bears did make the NCAA tournament last season. They finished with an overall record of 21-12 and a conference record of 12-6–tied for second in the conference standings.

Still, Arizona will probably be ranked in the top 10 to start the season, Colorado will have the talent to win the Pac-12 and UCLA cannot be overlooked. All three of these teams will compete in the Pac-12. That does not mean that Cal does not have a chance, though.

Bird has the potential to be one of the best players in the conference and Cobbs is one of the best returning players. With that said, Arizona will have a great recruiting class coming in–as usual.

It will not be easy to make the dance in the upcoming season or win the Pac-12 title, but don’t count out the Golden Bears before the season has even started.

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