March 11, 2012
BERKELEY - The California men's basketball team (24-9) received its 17th invitation to the NCAA Tournament and will face South Florida in a first-round game at 6 p.m. PT Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. The winner will be seeded 12th in the Midwest Region and face No. 5 seed Temple Friday in Nashville, Tenn.
The selection into the NCAA field gives the Bears three tournament berths in four years under head coach Mike Montgomery. Cal is 19-16 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including a national championship in 1959.
Led by Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Jorge Gutierrez, the Bears have amassed 24 victories, matching their total from 2009-10 (24-11). No team has had more than 24 since the 1960 squad that reached the NCAA championship game compiled a 28-2 mark.
Allen Crabbe, a first-team All-Pac-12 choice, paces Cal with 15.3 ppg, while Gutierrez contributes 13.1 ppg. Justin Cobbs (12.9 ppg) and Harper Kamp (11.3 ppg) also average in double figures for the Bears.
After placing second in the Pac-12 with a 13-5 league mark, Cal defeated Stanford, 77-71, in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Colorado, 70-59, in the semifinals.
South Florida finished the regular season with a 20-13 overall record and 12-6 mark in the Big East. The Bulls claimed their opening round contest in the Big East Tournament with a 56-47 win over Villanova, then fell to Notre Dame, 57-53, in overtime.
Cal and USF have meet twice previously with each team winning on its home floor. The Bears took a 79-69 decision on Jan. 20, 2001, in Berkeley, while South Florida prevailed, 79-59, on Dec. 1, 2001, in Tampa.
Cal is 1-2 in NCAA Tournament play under Montgomery. In his first season at the help in 2008-09, the Bears were selected as a seventh seed and faced 10th-seeded Maryland at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., falling, 84-71. But the next year, Cal captured the Pac-10's regular-season title and earned a No. 8 seed. The Bears took out ninth-seeded Louisville, 77-62, in Jacksonville, Fla., before a 68-53 to top-seeded Duke in the second round.
Last year, the Bears participated in the National Invitation Tournament and advanced to the second round where they fell at Colorado. Overall, Montgomery is 2-3 in postseason tournament games with the Bears, and has had his squads chosen for the NCAA Tournament 14 times during the course of his career. He guided his 1997-98 Stanford team to the Final Four and has advanced to the NCAA regional championship and the Sweet 16 in two other years.
For ticket information at the NCAA Tournament, please visit CalBears.com for more information or click here to purchase, now.