USA TODAY Sports
Roll on, you Golden Bear.
Who? The Golden Bears of the University of California at Berkeley. Cal for (very) short, California for slightly less short.
What? The name was coined in 1895, when Cal track and field brought a bear banner with them to represent the school and state. After kicking butt and not bothering to take names, the name stuck. Oski is a figure of myth and legend.
Where? Berkeley, California, the third-most liberal city in the US.
When? March 23rd, in Lubbock, Texas.
Why? You beat Stanford at Maples, you're probably going to the Big Dance.
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish second in the conference, they tied for first with Stanford but fell to second on the tiebreaker.
Record: 28-3 (17-1 Pac-12)
Good wins: At Stanford.
Bad losses: I guess UCLA in the Pac-12 semis. Nothing here is pearl-clutchingly horrible.
Who's running this show? Lindsay Gottlieb, since 2011. A well-traveled assistant, she was previously at UC-Santa Barbara.
If Cal plays their A-game, they're one of the best teams in the country. But consistency has been a major issue for them. When they're on, they're going into the lane and making power moves. When they're not, they're leaning on outside shots. Senior guard Layshia Clarendon leads the team in scoring with 15.6 per game. Junior forward Gennifer Brandon is a walking double-double, putting up 12.3 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. (Anyone who can pull down 26 rebounds in one game is a boss in my book.) One of the keys to their tournament success may be the play of point guard Brittany Boyd.