California Basketball: Bears Are Playing Their Way Out of the Tournament
A 20-point loss to the UCLA Bruins won’t hurt you in terms of a quality loss or not, but it should be concerning enough for the Cal Bears as their games have been too close to call of late. It’s still uncertain what will happen to the Bears, who have a loss to the USC Trojans on their schedule, in terms of getting into the tournament or not. The Bears lost 86-66.
Losers of five of their last eight, Cal cannot afford another big loss. The 20-point loss just shows that Cal is playing its way out of the tournament. It does not look good the rest of the way, playing at the Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Sun Devils and Colorado Buffaloes at home to end the Pac-12 conference regular season play.
As of right now, the Cal Bears do not deserve an at-large bid into the big dance, but they could strike fire at any point in time and win the wide-open Pac-12 tournament. The losses to the Trojans, Arizona State, the Stanford Cardinal and the UCSB Gauchos do not help the cause of them getting in. They also had to play the 11th place Washington State Cougars in overtime last week—not helping their resume either.
Cal could not stop Jordan Adams—who’s had a monstrous stretch of games averaging 26 points per game in the last two contests. He made almost every shot going 12-for-19 from the floor and scoring 28 points per game.
Part of the reason for the loss was the fact that Justin Cobbs was held to under 10 points, scoring just seven points on 2-of-8 shooting. In fact, the only two Bears in double figures were Jabari Bird and Jordan Mathews with a combined 27 points—almost outscoring their starters.
The Bears need to figure out how to score and guard or they are going to miss out on the tournament. After a decent start in the Pac-12 play, the Bears are 8-5 in the Pac-12 and are now in sole position of fifth place in the conference.
If Cal does not beat Arizona next week, their season is over and will they’ll be watching the tournament on television instead of on the court.
John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII