NorCalNick, from Cal Golden Blogs, steps up to the plate and answer's C and R's hard hitting questions for the annual Battle of The Bay (and proves he is one witty guy!)
1. Cal is 13-2 in the last 15 games, and won their last 4 in a row. They are definitely surging. What explains said surge?
Well, like Carolyn Peck would say, there aren't any teams out in the Pac-12 that present any kind of challenge, right?
Nah, it's mostly a matter of the Bears playing consistently to their own potential. Last year's struggles obscured the talent that the team has, and the infusion of a few more highly rated freshmen provided some missing pieces. Now those four freshmen have been integrated into the lineup and the whole is starting to become greater than the sum of the parts.
Also, those two losses were both in overtime - Cal hasn't lost in regulation since they visited L.A. on New Years weekend!
2. Cal has been projected as a number 7 seed for the NCAA tournament (Yay!) and if they win their first game would meet Tennessee (Boo!). What does Cal need to do to have a deep run in the tourney?
A good draw, probably. As both a Cal fan and a Pac-12 fan, I'm always wary of getting screwed. This year that would be getting an 8 seed across from Baylor or Notre Dame. That's part of the reason why we want to beat Stanford (even more) badly - it would presumably clinch at least a 7 seed, if not higher.
If Cal could get matched up against a few teams that have trouble rebounding, or lack depth inside, they could pull off a few upsets. We'll have to do it on the road, since only one regional is east of Texas. It's rare that east-coast bias is so geographically obvious!
3. Now that Stanford freshmen Amber Orrrrange (no really, it’s not typo, it’s spelled with 4 "r"s, just like you pronounce it), has been inserted into the Stanford lineup. Do you anticipate Amber going up against Cal’s freshmen guard Brittany Boyd? And if so, what will the outcome be?
Probably lots of fouls. Brittany has the ability to both draw and get called for many of them, and if Ms. Orrrrange's intent is to stop her from getting into the lane the result will be lots of contact from both teams.
I'll be interested to see if Amber can maintain her 2:1 assist to turnover ratio against one of the best thiefs in the conference. If she can, Cal is in a world of trouble. But if Brittany can pick her pocket a few times and score going the other way the Bears should be able to hang right with Stanford.
4. Tara VanDerveer has publicly stated she thinks Cal should be a top-25 team after the Overtime victory over Cal, and went to the media to blast the Pac-12 against detractors. Why didn’t Coach Gottleib chime in on the record to defend the Pac-12 honor and call out the haters?
I would imagine that Coach G agrees whole-heartedly with Tara - Cal should be a Top 25 team!
I do appreciate and agree with Tara's statements, even though they are pretty clearly self-motivated. Lucky for her, Stanford has been so successful for so long that they have earned the benefit of the doubt, at least from the selection committee. And lucky for Cal, they'll have the chance to prove they belong in March.
5. For senior day, Cal has no seniors. First of all, why? And second, Coach Gottleib has said she will enjoy giving Nneka a big bouquet of flowers. What are the chances she will offer, say an Ipad or a car to convince Nneka to fake a sore throat and sit?
Cal brought in two freshmen in the recruiting class that would have graduated this year, but both players elected to transfer (one, interestingly, went to UC Santa Barbara, where Coach Gottlieb had left for the head coaching position at the time). Their transfers led to the need for a seven player recruiting class (since reduced to four players available to play due to transfers and heart conditions). It's been a somewhat difficult roster to manage, and this is really the first year in which there's been any kind of reasonable class balance since 2009.
I think the bouquet of flowers will be sufficient for Nneka, but perhaps the car can be offered to Chiney . . . would that count as an illegal benefit? Somebody get the NCAA on line 2!
6. A train leaves Palo Alto at 6:00 PM traveling East at 80 MPH. A second train leaves Berkeley 3 hours later at 100 mph heading West on the same track. How big will the explosion have to be to get the East Coast Media to recognize we play basketball out here in California?
There are other factors to be taken into account. Will the explosion be aired on ESPN2 or CSNBA? Will Baylor be in the middle of another 30 point win at the same time? Does Geno Auriemma have an opinion on the explosion? And, if possible, can Rebecca Lobo be brought in to ensure that Geno offers his take?
Okay, that last answer was gooooood!
Now all they have to do is play the game! See ya Sunday!
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