Making a Final Four raised expectations and Cal met them in conference play. But can they repeat their post-season success?
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, which did not become the capital of California in 1908.
When? March 22nd, in Waco, Texas.
Why? Because Shannon decreed it must be so. That and the RPI, and the SOS, and the 21 wins, and the second place finish in the Pac-12.
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish second in the conference, they tied for second with Oregon State and came out ahead on the tiebreaker.
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Follow Related SB Nation site California Golden Bears blog California Golden Blogs RPI: 29
Record: 21-9 (13-5 Pac-12)
Good wins: Arizona State.
Bad losses: Washington at home.
Who’s running this show? Lindsay Gottlieb, since 2011, a graduate of Brown (so one may presume she is aware of the academic expectations of a Cal student).
This year has been about the dramatic arrival on the scene of Reshanda Gray. Last year’s sixth woman has become this year’s leading scorer (17.6, at 60.4% shooting) and rebounder (9.0). Junior point guard Brittany Boyd runs the offense, with 14.5 points, 2.9 steals, and 5.8 assists.
The Golden Bears are one of the most athletic teams in the tournament, especially if senior forward Gennifer Brandon is anywhere close to the rebounding machine she was before her injury. Their lack of outside shooting is a bit of an Achilles heel, though.