5 Things Cal Basketball Must Do to Make the 2014 NCAA Tournament
5 Things Cal Basketball Must Do to Make the NCAA Tournament
The California Golden Bears lost leading scorer Allen Crabbe over the offseason. That is never an easy thing to recover from, but Cal has actually had a pretty successful season and could end up playing in the 2014 NCAA tournament. However, there are five things the Golden Bears must do first.
That win against Arkansas early in the season is looking better and better. In no way is that the biggest win on Cal’s resume, but it is a win against a fellow bubble team. I am sure the tournament committee will be taking that into consideration.
However, a bubble team would not be a bubble team without some bad losses. California lost to UC Santa Barba in its non-conference schedule. The Gauchos could end up in the tourney, but losing to a team from the Big West is not what Pac-12 teams are supposed to do.
The worst loss of the season was against USC. The Trojans have a grand total of one win in the conference and sit at the bottom of the Pac-12 standings.
California has beaten some good teams, though. Its best wins have come against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona. That win against the Wildcats is HUGE. Arizona only has two losses on the season.
The Golden Bears have an overall record of 18-10 and a conference record of 9-6. They are tied for third with three other teams in the Pac-12. That just means a loss could hurt really, really bad.
Regardless, Cal is your typical bubble team, but it still has a great shot to make the dance. Let’s take a look at five things it has to do to make the field of 68.
Win Two out of Last Three Games
California closes out the season against Arizona State, Utah and Colorado. It very well could lose all three of those games. The Golden Bears need to win two out of three to ensure a spot in the tournament.
Not Lose to Other Bubble Teams
This is a little tricky since Arizona State, Utah and Colorado can all be considered bubble teams.
The most important matchup could be against the Sun Devils, but a victory against Colorado would be the best and Utah could still make the dance. Like I said, it is a little tricky, but losing to other bubble teams this time of the year is bad.
With that in mind, a loss to Colorado would not hurt, a loss to Arizona State would sting and a loss to Utah could have Cal playing in the NIT.
Not Get Blown Out
If California is going to drop a game, it cannot get blown out. It needs to do the exact opposite of what it did against Arizona last game. The Golden Bears lost by 28 points.
Double-digit losses could be Cal’s biggest nightmare right now.
Avoid Bad Loss in the Pac-12 Tournament
California isn’t the team to beat entering the Pac-12 tournament. I have accepted that -- basically when Arizona was ranked in the top 10 to start the season.
However, this team cannot record a bad loss in the conference tournament. Who knows who the Golden Bears will play, but it really does not matter.
Losing to a team like USC or Washington State would be the end of this team’s tournament hopes. Also, that blowout loss comes into play here.
Win One to Two Games in Pac-12 Tourney
Winning two games in the Pac-12 tournament would more than likely be enough for Cal. However, winning one may do the trick depending on how it finished during the regular season.
I think two victories in the conference tournament should be the magic number, though.
Winning the entire thing always gets the job done as well. Then the Golden Bears would get that sweet auto bid.