March 4, 2002
California Golden Bears (21-6, 12-5) vs. UCLA Bruins (19-10, 11-7)
Thursday, March 7, 9 p.m., Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: KABL (960 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Cal opens the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament against UCLA at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Bears, who tied for second place in the league standings, are the third seed in the field.
If Cal wins, the Bears would face the winner of the game between No. 2 seed Arizona and seventh-seeded Arizona State at 8:30 p.m Friday. The championship game is Saturday at 3 p.m.
Cal, which finished the regular season with a 21-7 overall record and 12-6 mark in conference action, looks to regroup after a 99-53 setback at Arizona this past Saturday. Despite the loss, the Bears remained in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today rankings at No. 25. Cal is also 27th in the RPI and 25th in the Sagarin Ratings.
The Bears enter the Pac-10 Tournament having won 20 games in a season for the fourth time in the last six years under head coach Ben Braun. The Bears were 23-9 during an NCAA Sweet 16 run in 1997, 22-11 en route to the NIT championship in 1999 and 20-11 last year.
Cal has achieved its status with a unit that leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense (65.8 ppg allowed) and field goal percentage defense (41.1%). In addition, the Bears are second in turnover margin (+4.64) and steals 8.18 spg). Cal has also accumulated 116 blocks so far - the fifth-highest total in school history.
With no individual in the Top 10 in league scoring or rebounding, Cal has relied on a balanced offensive attack that has featured eight different players earn team scoring honors in games this year, including seven different leaders in the last six games (includes one tie). Senior guard Dennis Gates became the latest to join the group when he tallied a career-best 17 points vs. USC Feb. 23.
Junior forward Joe Shipp has paced Cal's offensive attack all year, now averaging 14.3 ppg. He has reached double figures 22 times in 28 games and needs just 39 points to become the 31st player in school history to tally 1,000 in a career.
Braun, who owns a 449-303 record in 25 seasons as a head coach, needs just one more victory for the 450th of his career. At 116-68 with the Bears, he is three wins away from tying Pete Newell (119-44) for third in Cal history.