March 15, 2009
BERKELEY - The California Golden Bears return to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament this week for the first time since the 2005-06 season when they travel to Kansas City, Mo., Thursday to take on the Maryland Terrapins in the first round of the West Region. Tipoff takes place 30 minutes after the completion of the Memphis-Cal State Northridge game, which begins at 9:25 a.m. PT.
The Bears earned a No.7 seed and will face 10th-seeded Terrapins at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Thursday, March 19. The contest will be broadcast by CBS TV with the game time yet to be determined. The California-Maryland winner will face the winner of the Memphis-Cal State Northridge game Saturday CT at the Sprint Center.
California, 22-9 on the season, will be making its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bears are 18-14 in NCAA tournament games. This will be their first trip to the post season under head coach Mike Montgomery.
This is the second time that Cal enters the tournament as the No. 7 seed. The Bears earned a seven seed in 2006 when they were upset in the first round by the No. 10 NC State Wolfpack, 58-52, in Dallas, the last time the Bears earned an invitation to the tournament.
Cal's last NCAA appearance in 2006 saw the Bears face North Carolina State in the opening round. In that game, the 10th-seeded Wolfpack edged the No. 7 seeded Bears in Dallas, 58-52. Former Cal star Leon Powe posted a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Omar Wilkes and Rod Benson also got into double figures, scoring 10 and 13 points, respectively.
"They were excited. It's new to them." Cal head coach Mike Montgomery said of his team. "The Pac-10 gets six teams; that's great."
Maryland enters the NCAA Tournament with a 20-13 record after posting a 7-9 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"Playing an ACC school, like Maryland, I've had some experience playing them and they're always very well coached. It's a major conference school that's done really well. " Montgomery said. "I know [Maryland head coach] Gary Williams well. I know he's a heck of a competitor. I know that they'll play really hard."
Cal and Maryland have only faced each other one time, with Maryland earning a victory over the Bears in the 1996-97 season. The Bears are 2-2 in the NCAA tournament against ACC schools. Cal defeated Duke in the second round of the 1993 tournament, 82-77. Cal lost to North Carolina, 63-57, in the east regional semifinal in 1997. They have split a pair of NCAA tournament games with NC State, winning 76-74 in overtime in the first round of the 2003 tournament, but bowing in the 2006 first round, 58-52.
Check back at CalBears.com for more information about the Bears throughout the week.