March 17, 2013
BERKELEY - The California men's basketball team earned its fourth NCAA Tournament selection in five seasons under head coach Mike Montgomery and will face No. 5 seed UNLV in a second-round game on Thursday in San Jose. The contest will tip off at 4:27 p.m. from HP Pavilion and be televised on TruTV.
The Golden Bears are in the East Region and are marking their second-straight and 18th all-time selection to the NCAA Tournament. After going 30 years between appearances, Cal has earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament 13 times since 1990.
The winner of Thursday's Cal-UNLV game will face the winner of Syracuse-Montana Saturday, with the victor going to East Regional games in Washington, D.C.
Cal is 19-17 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, including a national championship in 1959. The Bears own an 11-6 mark in opening-round games. They played in a first-round game in Dayton, Ohio, last season, dropping a 65-54 decision to South Florida.
Cal's 2012-13 squad owns a 20-11 overall record, placing second in the Pac-12 Conference regular-season standings with a 12-6 league mark. Cal has prevailed in nine of its last 12 games, including a seven-game winning streak that included victories over NCAA Tournament teams Oregon, UCLA, Arizona and Colorado. Most recently, the Bears are coming off a 79-69 overtime setback to Utah in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament this past Thursday in Las Vegas.
The Bears, the league's top team in defensive field goal percentage, are holding opponents to 39.6 percent shooting from the floor. It is the lowest mark for Cal opponents since the 1960 NCAA runner-up squad allowed teams to make 36.5 percent of their attempts. Cal is also limiting opponents to 64.4 ppg, the lowest average point total in 28 years.
Led by Pac-12 Player of the Year and All-American Allen Crabbe, the Bears finished in the top four in the conference and posted at least 10 league wins for the fifth-straight season, the only school in the Pac-12 to achieve the feat.
Crabbe, a Sporting News third-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 selection for the second-straight season, has led the league in scoring all year and enters the NCAA Tournament with an average of 18.7 ppg. Fellow junior guard Justin Cobbs earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors this season and ranks eighth in the conference in scoring (15.5 ppg.) and fourth in the league in assists (4.8 apg.). The duo of Crabbe and Cobbs, who have started all 31 games for the Bears, is the highest scoring pair in the Pac-12 with a combined average of 34.2 ppg.
Sophomore forward David Kravish, who has also started all 31 contests this season, ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in blocks (1.7 bpg.) and 11th in the league in rebounding (6.9 rpg.). As a team, Cal's 147 blocks is a school single-season record.
Thursday's game will be a rematch from a Dec. 9 contest in Haas Pavilion between the Bears and Runnin' Rebels. Then-No. 21 UNLV picked up the 76-75 victory when Quintrell Thomas grabbed an airball and scored with 1.2 seconds remaining. Crabbe paced the Bears with 18 points, while Richard Solomon chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds. UNLV leads the all-time series, 5-1.
Overall, Cal has played nine teams in the NCAA Tournament field this season and gone 6-6 in those contests.
Cal is 1-3 in NCAA Tournament play under Montgomery. In his first season at the helm 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 conference's regular-season title and earned a No. 8 seed. The Bears defeated ninth-seeded Louisville, 77-62, in Jacksonville, Fla., before a 68-53 setback to top-seeded Duke in the second round.
Cal has earned a postseason berth all five years under Montgomery, also advancing to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament in 2011. Including an NIT berth in 2008 before Montgomery arrived, the Bears have advanced to the postseason a school-record six years in a row.
Overall, Montgomery is 2-4 in postseason tournament games at Cal and has had his squads chosen for the NCAA Tournament 15 times during the course of his 31-year collegiate coaching 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.
Ticket Information To order during your priority window: Monday, March 18 at 9 a.m. PT Tuesday, March 19 at 9 a.m. PT Tuesday, March 19 at 12 noon PT
To order during your priority window:
Monday, March 18 at 9 a.m. PT
Tuesday, March 19 at 9 a.m. PT
Tuesday, March 19 at 12 noon PT