Bracket Projection: California
Bears have a star in Crabbe, but could have trouble winning opening game
The California Golden Bears were an afterthought a third of the way into the Pac-12 season. Then, after a loss at Arizona State, something fell into place. Seven straight wins followed and, eventually, so did a second-place conference finish. With the regular season success in the rearview mirror, can Cal use that momentum to win multiple games in the NCAA tournament for the first time under Mike Montgomery?
ESPN Insider has your answers, as Joe Lunardi has enlisted a team of Bracketologists to compile advanced metrics, key scouting intel and best- and worst-case tournament scenarios for all 68 teams, in order to help you make smart picks in your bracket. Plus, as Lunardi fills out his bracket, he'll give you his prediction on how each team will fare.
Cal was one spot ahead of Oregon on the NCAA's true seed list, so its season sweep of the Ducks was apparently more important to the committee than Oregon's conference tournament title. Unnoticed is that both were true 11-seeds on that seed list, so both Oklahoma State and UNLV are paired against tougher teams than necessary (especially when at least one could have been a No. 11 in Salt Lake City).
Best wins: at Arizona, UCLA, at Oregon, Colorado
Worst losses: Harvard, at Stanford, Washington, Colorado, at Arizona State, Stanford
To read the complete tournament guide preview for the California Golden Bears, and gain access to all of ESPN Insider's NCAA tournament coverage, sign up today.
Insider Tourney Guide
Joe Lunardi and his team of analysts have broken down every NCAA tournament team's strengths, weaknesses and player tendencies.