Cal Basketball Non-Conference Updates: Golden Bears Win Season Opener

After a tough non-conference schedule last year that hurt their NCAA tournament seeding, the California Golden Bears play a lot of home games before kicking off Pac-10 play in January. Here is their November/December slate this season before their visit to the Farm New Year's weekend.

11/16/10 vs. Cal State Northridge Berkeley, Calif. W, 80-63
11/20/10 vs. New Mexico Berkeley, Calif. 7:00 p.m. PT
2010 Old Spice Classic
11/25/10 vs. Temple Orlando, Fla. 6:00 p.m. PT
11/26/10 Georgia/Notre Dame Orlando, Fla. TBA
11/28/10 TBA Orlando, Fla. TBA
12/01/10 vs. UC Davis Berkeley, Calif. 7:30 p.m. PT
12/04/10 at Iowa State TV Ames, Iowa 11:00 a.m. PT
12/08/10 vs. San Diego State TV Berkeley, Calif. 7:30 p.m. PT
12/12/10 vs. Southern Miss Berkeley, Calif. 2:00 p.m. PT
12/18/10 vs. Cal Poly Berkeley, Calif. 2:00 p.m. PT
12/22/10 vs. Kansas TV Berkeley, Calif. 8:00 p.m. PT
12/28/10 vs. Hartford Berkeley, Calif. 7:30 p.m. PT

 

Cal has a lot of issues this season trying to defend their Pac-10 championship. They are losing four starting seniors and their top four scorers in Jerome Randle, Theo Robertson, Patrick Christopher and Jamal Boykin. Also graduating was backup guard Nikola Knezevic. Backup small forward and critical rebounder Omondi Amoke was dismissed, backup guard D.J. Seeley transferred (both are now at Cal State Fullerton), and center Max Zhang signed a contract with the Shanghai Sharks and will not return to Cal.

So who remains to replace Randle's production at the point guard? Only the pesky defender Jorge Gutierrez returns, as he now takes over starting point guard responsibilities. Can he handle the ball and still be as tenacious on defense all season long? Brandon Smith will be the backup ball-handler--is he ready to compete consistently against D-I opponents?

Scoring will have to come from the newcomers at the wings. Freshman Gary Franklin will be starting at the two spot and handle the ball a bit; can he make good decisions with his shot selection? Allen Crabbe is the star of the incoming recruiting class, but he is a freshman and probably isn't quite ready for the Pac-10 speed; how fast can he acclimate his game? Emerson Murray might have the most innate talent and has been praised highly by Jason Kidd; will he be able to showcase his skills as a defender as the minutes pile on? And how long will it take for the unheralded but smooth-shooting Alex Rossi to be able to see the floor?

Only the big men remain somewhat intact. Harper Kamp and Markhuri Sanders-Frison have both played a solid year (Kamp in 2009, Sanders-Frison last season) and both seem to be in tip-top shape. They'll be needed to provide the leadership down low consiering the youth of the slashers and the points. Backing them up are the intriguing Bak Bak and young but lengthy Richard Solomon, both of whom provide a lot of energy and athleticism. How will they fare as the season wears on?

There are so many questions, and a full season to answer them. There'll be plenty of growing pains this season (Cal is predicted to finish 7th in the media poll), but it should be a lot of fun to watch it unfold!

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