Oct. 29, 2009
BERKELEY - For only the second time in history, California has been selected to win the Pac-10 title in a preseason vote of media members who regularly cover the conference. It was announced on Thursday at the annual Pac-10 Media Day held at the Hilton LAX in Los Angeles.
The Golden Bears picked up 25 of 37 first-place votes and received 350 total points. Washington got seven first-place votes and 330 points, with UCLA taking the final five first-place votes for 302 points.
Arizona came in fourth, followed closely by Oregon State in fifth. Oregon is picked for sixth, followed by Arizona State in seventh, Washington State in eighth, USC in ninth and Stanford in 10th. "The expectations are there," head coach Mike Montgomery said. "We're aware of that, but I don't know if it changes anything other than the fact that if anybody looked at us last year and said 'oh we'll beat Cal' maybe now we'll have their attention and maybe we'll get people's best efforts, which is great."
The only other time Cal was chosen to win the Pac-10 came in 1993-94 and featured All-Americans Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray. The Bears eventually finished tied for second in the conference.
In other news Thursday, Cal earned a preseason No. 13 ranking in the Associated Press preseason poll and a No. 12 rating in the USA Today preseason poll. It's the highest preseason ranking for Cal since the 1993-94 squad boasted a No. 6 preseason ranking. The last time the Bears were in the preseason Top 25 was in 2005-06 (No. 25).
The Bears return four starters from a squad that finished 22-11 overall and tied for third in the Pac-10 last season. Cal opens the regular season on Monday, Nov. 9, when the Bears host Murray State in Haas Pavilion. The first chance to see Cal in action will be Thursday, Nov. 5, against Chico State in an exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.
2009-10 Pac-10 Men's Basketball Media Pool
Team Points 1. California (25) 350 2. Washington (7) 330 3. UCLA (5) 302 4. Arizona 221 5. Oregon State 218 6. Oregon 175 7. Arizona State 144 8. Washington State 123 9. USC 109 10. Stanford 63
First-place votes in parentheses