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California 2009 NCAA Tournament Preview

 

California Golden Bears - Pac 10 Conference (22-10, 11-7)

Seed: #7 - West Region

RPI: 39

Big Wins: 12/10 at Utah (72-69), 1/10 at Washington (88-85), 2/5 Washington (86-71)

Bad Losses: 1/17 at Stanford (69-75), 1/22 Oregon State (65-69), 2/21 at Oregon State (54-65)

Last NCAA Appearance: 2006, First Round loss to North Carolina State

Coach: Mike Montgomery (16-12 in 12 NCAA appearances)



Probable California Starters:

  • Jermone Randle, Junior, Guard, 18.4 ppg, 4.9 apg

  • Patrick Christopher, Junior, Guard, 14.6 ppg, 2.1 apg

  • Theo Robertson, Junior, Forward, 12.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.5 apg

  • Jamal Boykin, Junior, Forward, 9.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg

  • Jordan Wilkes, Junior, Center, 4.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg

 

Key Cal Roleplayers:

  • Omondi Amoke, Freshman, Forward, 2.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg

  • Jorge Gutierrez, Freshman, Guard, 4.6 ppg, 1.8 apg

  • Harper Kamp, Freshman, Forward, 3.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg

 

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Why The Golden Bears Can Surprise:
California , under first year coach Mike Montgomery, has played solid basketball all season long. The team takes smart shots, keeps the turnovers to a minimum and simply plays smarter than their opponents. Players who are not good shooters do not shoot outside shots and it seems everybody plays to their strengths. Coach Montgomery deserves a lot of credit, but he needed some players to make his system work.

His best players are in the backcourt where Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson combine to average over 45 points per game. Randle does not just shoot 46.8 percent from long range and average 18.4 points; he is also the point guard. The 5-10 junior is the heart and soul of the team and the much needed coach on the floor. Like Randle, Christopher is another talented guard who can score inside and out. Robertson is one of the most underappreciated and talented shooters in the nation. He has hit an amazing 49.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

 

Why The Golden Bears Can Disappoint:
The Golden Bears defense is much, much better than it was last year, but there is still room for improvement. The opposition shoots over 44 percent from the floor and 34 percent from beyond the arc. Coach Montgomery has instilled a more intense defense this year, but that does not make up for the fact that Cal has no intimidating shot blocking presence under the basket outside of little used 7-3 freshman Max Zhang, who averages just 4.5 minutes per game.

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Who To Watch:
Jamal Boykin and Jordan Wilkes both bring something to the table; they are just not shot blockers. Boykin, who spent some time playing at Duke, emerged as a decent scoring threat both inside and out. Meanwhile, Wilkes, a seven-footer, does a lot of the dirty work in the paint. While the production is lacking, those two are experienced players who know how to help their team. It is Harper Kamp and Omondi Amoke who come in off the bench. They do not add any size to the frontcourt or any scoring prowess, but at least Cal has a few options if things get really bad in the frontcourt.

 

California By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 75.0 (63rd in nation, 3rd in conference)

Scoring Defense: 68.0 (179, 6)

Field-Goal Percentage: 48.7 (8, 2)

Field-Goal Defense: 44.1 (214, 6)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (153, 5)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (1, 1)

Free-Throw Percentage: 75.8 (12, 2)

Rebound Margin: 3.2 (68, 4)

Assists Per Game: 15.5 (40, 3)

Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (39, 3)

 

Joel’s Bracket Says: Sweet Sixteen loss to Missouri

 

By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer

 

> Find more 2009 NCAA Tournament coverage online from College Sports Fans and print your NCAA Tournament brackets today!

 


 


 

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