California Golden Bears
Both California and Stanford had huge opportunities on Thursday to make noise in the Pac-12 Tournament, while also catching the eyes of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee in some fashion. But the Golden Bears and the Cardinal both took it on the chin from ranked conference opponents, losing badly in the spotlight. Thus, the two Bay Area schools will now wait for bids to the National Invitation Tournament early next week.
It was a good day for the Bay Area in Las Vegas, as both the California and Stanford men’s basketball teams scored wins in the first round of their conference tournament. Cal beat Washington State, and Stanford beat Washington. Both teams will play again on Thursday in Sin City—this time against better competition.
The California men’s basketball team has a tough task ahead of it in the Pac-12 Tournament this week: Assuming the Golden Bears beat lowly Washington State in the first round of the tourney, they will get a shot at the best team in the conference. The Arizona Wildcats just beat the Bears by 39 points in Tucson, but stranger things have happened in the sports world than a big underdog getting revenge on the neighborhood bully.
The Stanford University women’s basketball team improved to 38-3 in the Pac-10/Pac-12 conference tournament all time, as the Cardinal defeated Bay Area rivals California in the final of the league championship event. The Golden Bears led at halftime, but they couldn’t hold off Stanford in the second half.
Both the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal lost their second matchup in three days with Arizona schools in Pac-12 play, and now it’s unlikely either team will make the NCAA Tournament—barring a miraculous run in the upcoming Pac-12 conference tournament.
With a 99-60 blowout loss in Tucson against the No. 5 team in the country, the California Golden Bears men’s basketball team dropped to 17-13 on the season and lost any chance of finishing at .500 in conference play. Cal will now hope for a strong showing in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Some of the entries on this list may surprise readers, but those who have followed the game won’t be shocked at which squad is No. 1 on this list. And who knew that the local universities have won a combined four NCAA tournament titles? Only the diehard fans in the Bay Area!
Bay Area residents generally don’t think of St. Mary’s College in Moraga as being a basketball powerhouse, but the Gaels basketball team is on the verge of making the NCAA Championship Tournament for the fifth time in eight seasons if they can make a good showing this week in the West Coast Conference tournament.
It’s a down year for the Pac-12 in men’s basketball, as the conference is the “worst” of the Big Five this year, and when you throw in the basketball-only Big East Conference, the Pac-12 looks even worse in league comparisons. That hurts a borderline NCAA Tournament team like Stanford and absolutely pains a long-shot squad like Cal.
The Cal Bears men’s basketball team will need a big finish to the 2014-15 season if they hope to make the NCAA tournament in March. Currently sitting at 17-12 with two games left in Pac-12 play, the Golden Bears need to get to .500 in conference and 20 wins on the season to have any chance at the Big Dance. Can they do it with two road games in Arizona this week? It will be tough.