Tag Archives: Anthony Bennett

The Dancing California Golden Bears

Mike Montgomery has a touch of a bad rep when it comes to the NCAA tournament. He ranks 31st in tournament win percentage amongst active coaches with at least ten tournament appearances and, despite all those great Stanford teams, has left the first weekend just thrice (1997 S16, 1998 F4, 2001 E8). But I’m not always one to harp on these facts when evaluating a coach’s career. But we’re also not looking at this sorta stuff right now. I will, however, admit to picking against such records and memories in this tournament because completing brackets should be completely irrational.

The Bears are dancing and rematching.

Why I like them:┬áThis is March and March loves guards. Cal has two terrific ones in Crabbe and Cobbs who have been dynamite in big games and big situations (see: Crabbe in Tucson, Cobbs in Eugene). These two are not afraid of the moment. Additionally, this game is in San Jose; a drinking-legal CalTrain ride from Berkeley (with a short stint on Bart). Or I suppose fans could just drive, too, but whatever. I encourage them to get there! Another item to keep an eye on – and I really don’t yet know what to make of it – is the fact that Ricky Kreklow returned to significant action last week. He played 18 minutes in Vegas – just his seventh game of the year – and knocked down two threes. He’s a wildcard and I’m kinda into it.

Why I don’t like them: The pieces after that dynamic duo leave something to be desired. Namely, Ty Wallace has cooled off and I don’t love depending upon a freshman difference maker. Or a thin PF, foul prone C, and a former walk-on backing them both up (though he is the Thurmanator). And while we were just starting to have to wrap our minds around the fact – yes, fact – that these Golden Bears were a good, not just hot, team, they went ahead and lost a pair and in unconvincing fashion. Cal is slumping into the tournament and one cannot feel good about that.

Poetic Justice: Revenge. It’s pretty simple here considering Cal had these Rebels all but beat back in December if it weren’t for a missed box out by David Kravish. The Bears will get a second shot in a weird “unavoidable” move by the committee.

Best Possible Scenario:┬áCal indeed exacts revenge, limiting Anthony Bennett’s touches and forcing the Rebs to shoot an uncomfortable number of threes (looking at you, Katin Reinhardt). This is the recipe New Mexico recently imparted in defeating UNLV. Of course Crabbe and Cobbs show up before an impressive Cal crowd and the Runnin’ Rebels get run out of the Dance. Next up, however, the Bears are unable to shoot their way out of the ‘Cuse zone (the Bears rank 309th in three-point shooting at just 30%) and this battle of witty and snide coaches falls the way of Boeheim.

Rebuilding or reloading, UW without 2012 commit

These past few years, the Washington Huskies have run a successful program.

And by past few years I mean the disappearance of the Pac-10. As in no top-25 team for most of the 2009-10 season. As in a national coming-down-upon in which everyone has seemed to rip the Pac. And rightfully so. It’s simply been abysmal.

So while all of that was happening, the conference was up for grabs and Washington did a pretty good job of capitalizing. They won a Pac-10 title (2009), two tournament titles (2010, 2011) and put four players in the NBA (since 2007). They’ve been a good program.

Perhaps it goes overshadowed that Lorenzo Romar teams also went to back-to-back sweet sixteens in 2005 and 2006. They spat out Brandon Roy and have been a solid program under Romar – producing just two sub-.500 campaign in nine seasons at his alma mater.

He wins to the tune of 68% and he pulls in talent. UW has had a top-25 class in five of the last seven years. They maintain a talented cupboard, that’s never been in question.

Until now.

With at least two scholarships coming off the books and likely more by way of NBA draft or inevitable transfer, the Huskies will watch the early signing period come and go without a commitment.

I’m not writing Washington’s death certificate nor do I think Romar is writing one. By many accounts he’s doing well with the class of 2013 but why stockpile for the future? This ain’t y2k but it certainly doesn’t look too good.

Arizona and UCLA have secured top-10 talent for 2012 and Stanford, Cal, Oregon, and Colorado each have top-100 commits.

As I said earlier, UW had a nice window in which they could become the conference elite. They took advantage of it and got themselves some trophies, but not couldn’t quite make the leap to elite.

Although the conference has run into a dry recruiting spell, perhaps that’s starting to effect the Huskies more than others. Maybe it starts at home? In six of their last seven classes, UW has had at least one 4-star recruit from Washington or Oregon (only one from Oregon). Percy Allen – the excellent Seattle Times reporter – notes that the local prep stars haven’t exactly shined bright. The top rated Seattle prospects may not be good enough for UW, in which case Romar is making the right move.

Washington is putting a lot of eggs into its 2013 basket which is fine – there are no doubt some talented players in that class – but if they miss eaither of their major spring targets (Anthony Bennett and Zena Edosomwan) 2013 could turn into a rebuilding class versus reloading.

There’s a lot of time and a lot of recruiting to be done but UW’s seat amongst the western elite may quickly be closing.

Now’s the time to try and get back in there.