March 13, 2011
BERKELEY - California has accepted a bid to the 2011 National Invitation Tournament and will host Ole Miss in a first-round game at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Haas Pavilion. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
The Golden Bears, who are seeded fourth in their region of the bracket, finished the regular season with a 17-14 record, while the Rebels are seeded fifth and are 20-13. The winner of the Cal-Ole Miss game will play the winner of No. 1 seeded Colorado-No. 8 seeded Texas Southern in the second round.
Tickets for Cal's opening-round game of the NIT are available for purchase starting Sunday night through the link at CalBears.com.
Fans may also call (800) GO BEARS or visit the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at 2223 Fulton St. during business hours. The ticket office is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Reserved seats are $50 for chairback seats, $40 for premium bench seats, $25 for adults and $15 for youth (12th grade and under). Cal student tickets are $10 for the game.
Wednesday will be the first-ever meeting between Cal and Ole Miss.
Cal is participating in the NIT for the seventh time and owns an 11-5 record in the event. The Bears won the championship in 1999 and reached the quarterfinals in both 1987 and 2000. Cal's NIT berth in 1986 marked the school's first postseason appearance since the NCAA runner-up squad of 1960, although the Bears made a first-round exit. Cal also advanced to the second round in 1989.
In its most-recent NIT appearance in 2008, Cal edged New Mexico by two at Haas Pavilion, 68-66, before falling to Ohio State in Columbus, 73-56.
Cal reached the semifinals in 1999 with a home win over Fresno State (79-71) at the Oakland Arena, a 17-point comeback at DePaul (58-57) and another victory in Oakland over Colorado State (71-62). The Bears met a familiar foe in Oregon in the semis in New York. Although Cal lost both regular-season games to the Ducks, it prevailed, 85-69, behind 22 points from Mike Gill. The Bears then edged Clemson, 61-60, for the title, going ahead when Geno Carlisle hit a free throw to complete a three-point play with 4.7 seconds left. Lampley, who had 16 points vs. Clemson, was named the NIT's MVP.
Including the NCAA Tournament, this marks Cal's 23rd foray into the postseason. Head coach Mike Montgomery has guided the Bears into either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT in each of his three seasons at the helm for the Bears. Last season, after the Bears won their first Pac-10 title in 50 years, Cal advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual-national champion Duke.
Cal is paced by the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Allen Crabbe, who led the Bears in scoring in conference games at 16.4 ppg. Junior guard Jorge Gutierrez was named to the All-Pac-10 first team, while junior forward Harper Kamp made the All-Pac-10 second team. Gutierrez and Kamp lead the Bears with 14.3 ppg in all games.
Ole Miss is led by Chris Warren, who is averaging 19.0 ppg. Zach Graham is also averaging double figures in scoring (14.1 ppg). Reginald Buckner and Terrance Henry pace the Rebels on the boards at 6.5 rpg and 6.1 rpg, respectively. Ole Miss has won two of its last three contests. The Rebels fell to Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, 75-66.
The 2011 NIT field features 32 teams seeded 1-8 in four different regions. In addition to Colorado, the other top seeds are Virginia Tech, Alabama and Boston College.
The first three rounds of the NIT are played at host school sites, starting with the opening round March 15-16. Second-round contests will be contested March 18-21 and quarterfinals March 22-23. The semifinals and final are set for March 29-31 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
For more information on the NIT, visit nit.org.
Cal's History in the NIT
Loyola Marymount 80, Cal 75 - Berkeley, Calif.
Cal 72, Cal State Fullerton 68 OT - Berkeley, Calif.
Cal 65, Oregon State 62 - Corvallis, Ore.
Arkansas-Little Rock 80, Cal 73 - Pine Bluff, Ark.
Cal 73, Hawaii 57 - Berkeley, Calif.
Connecticut 73, Cal 72 - Hartford, Conn.
Cal 79, Fresno State 71 - Oakland, Calif.
Cal 58, DePaul 57 - Rosemont, Ill.
Cal 71, Colorado State 62 - Oakland, Calif.
Cal 85, Oregon 69 - New York, N.Y.
Cal 61, Clemson 60 - New York, N.Y.
Cal 70, Long Beach State 66 - Berkeley, Calif.
Cal 60, Georgetown 49 - Berkeley, Calif.
Wake Forest 76, Cal 59 - Greensboro, N.C.
Cal 68, New Mexico 66 - Berkeley, Calif.
Ohio State 73, Cal 56 - Columbus, Ohio