Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Tomorrow a must-win for Cal?
By Joe Kaiser
A road win over No. 23 Oregon on Thursday night could be just what Cal needs to make its way into the NCAA tournament. As of Tuesday, Joe Lunardi had Mike Montgomery's team listed in the "last four in" with a 50 percent chance to make the big dance.
Luckily for the Golden Bears, they have some factors working in their favor. For one, Ducks coach Dana Altman said Tuesday that it's doubtful key point guard Dominic Artis will play in the highly anticipated rematch between the two schools. Cal held off Oregon, 58-54, in Berkeley earlier this month in a game where the Ducks turned it over 22 times. No Artis would give Cal a big backcourt advantage.
Secondly, Cal is currently one of the hottest teams in the Pac-12 with wins Oregon, Arizona (on the road) and UCLA over its past games.
If the Golden Bears lose in Eugene, it doesn't mean their at-large chances are over. They still have important games against fellow bubble teams Stanford and Colorado, and winning those will be very important as well. However, with a 16-9 record every game is critical from this point forward and few wins look better in the Pac-12 this season than those that come in Eugene. For a team like Cal that's already won at Arizona, a second win over the Ducks would make it difficult for the NCAA's selection committee to pass the school over.