Cal Hosts Arizona, ASU in Final Home Weekend
Feb. 27, 2007
Arizona Wildcats (18-9, 9-7) at California Golden Bears (14-14, 6-10)
Thursday, March 1, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: FSN Arizona
Arizona State Sun Devils (7-20, 1-15, at Stanford 3/1) at California Golden Bears
Saturday, March 3, 3 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California wraps up the regular season when the Golden Bears host Arizona Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Arizona State Saturday at 3 p.m. The match-ups mark the fifth time in the past 11 years that Cal has finished its Pac-10 schedule against the Arizona schools, most recently in 2003.
The Bears are 8-5 at home this season and have won their last two contests inside Haas Pavilion - 63-61 over then-No. 15 Oregon and 84-80 in overtime over Oregon State.
Prior to the start of the year, head coach Ben Braun said he believed his 2006-07 squad could be the best shooting team he's ever had - a statement that is proving to be true. Cal has already set a school record for most three-pointers with 212 this season (breaking the mark of 198 in 2002-03). In addition, the Bears lead the nation in free throw shooting at 77.6 percent, which is well above the school record of 73.5 percent set in 1986-87.
Freshman F Ryan Anderson - the only player to rank among the Top 5 in the in Pac-10 in both scoring (5th, 16.5 ppg) and rebounding (5th, 8.0 rpg) - has drained 50 shots from behind the arc this season and needs just one more to tie Jason Kidd and Geno Carlisle for 10th on the Cal list. Anderson has also scored in double figures in 26 of 28 games, and his total of 461 points rates third on the school's freshman scoring chart behind only Shareef Abdur-Rahim (590) and Brian Hendrick (478).
This weekend marks the final home appearance for a pair of Bear seniors - Ayinde Ubaka and Alex Pribble - who will be honored in a pregame ceremony Saturday. Ubaka has moved into the 23rd spot on Cal's scoring list with 1,130 points, just 15 behind No. 22 Butch Hays (1,145 points from 1981-84). He is also fourth all-time in assists with 398, trailing only Keith Smith (546), Kevin Johnson (521) and Jason Kidd (494) in the school record book.
Pribble, a former walk-on who received a scholarship two years ago, has earned three starts this season and appeared in 24 contests. He was a first-team Pac-10 All-Academic choice in 2006.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 210 Fr 5.6 2.2Averaging 14.3 ppg last 4 games; 24 points, 11 boards vs. OSUF 24 Theo Robertson 6-6 225 So 9.0 4.4Career-high 21 points vs. Oregon State (6-8 FG, 1-1 3P, 8-10 FT) F 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 235 Fr 16.5 8.021 points at UCLA; 50 three-pointers (#2 on Cal frosh list) G 1 Ayinde Ubaka 6-4 200 Sr 13.9 4.4 apg#23 in Cal history with 1,130 pts; 12 rebounds vs. Oregon 2/15G 2 Omar Wilkes 6-4 185 Jr 9.9 2.0Scored 14 points vs. USC Jan 27; at least 9 points in 20 game
Cal Head Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 11th year in Berkeley and 30th season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 200-135, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 533-370. The 1997 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and one of 25 finalists for the 2003 Naismith National Coach of the Year award, Braun has led the Bears to the postseason seven times in his first 10 years. After taking Cal to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1997, he guided the Bears to the NIT championship in 1999 and to the NIT quarterfinals in 2000. He also directed Cal to consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 2001, '02 and '03, plus another NCAA berth in 2006. At EMU from 1985-96, the three-time MAC Coach of the Year guided the Eagles to three NCAA Tournaments and one NIT appearance with an overall record of 185-132. He was also 148-103 from 1977-85 at Siena Heights. A native of Chicago, Braun earned a teaching degree in English with a minor in African-American studies at Wisconsin in 1975. He received his master's degree in guidance and counseling from Siena Heights.
Arizona Scouting Report
A Look at Arizona
Arizona features five players scoring in double figures, led by Marcus Williams' 16.8 ppg. The Wildcats are averaging 79.6 ppg as a team and shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, and they are out-rebounding their opponents by a 37.5-31.6 margin. UA is 5-4 on the road this season, including 4-3 in Pac-10 games, most recently edging Arizona State, 61-58, last Sunday.
Cal-Arizona Series History
Arizona holds a 48-25 all-time record against Cal, including a 94-85 victory to open 2006-07 Pac10 action Dec. 28 in Tucson. The Bears, though, have won two of the past three in Berkeley - 87-83 in 2004 and 75-66 last year behind 30 points and 10 boards by Leon Powe.
Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson
Lute Olson is 587-186 in his 24th season at Arizona and 779-278 in his 34th year overall. Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002, he has directed UA to the 1997 NCAA title, four Final Fours and 11 Pac-10 titles. He also guided Iowa to the 1980 Final Four and is a nine-time conference Coach of the Year.
For more information: www.arizonaathletics.com
Arizona State Scouting Report
A Look at Arizona State
Arizona State, which visits Stanford Thursday, is just 1-15 in Pac-10 action. However, 13 of the Sun Devils' losses have been by less than 10 points, including last Sunday's 61-58 setback to Arizona. ASU averages 59.2 ppg and is allowing 62.6 ppg. Christian Polk paces the squad with 12.7 ppg, with Jeff Pendergraph the only other player in double figures (12.4 ppg).
Cal-ASU Series History
Arizona State owns a 32-30 series lead, although Cal has taken 10 of 13 since 2001. Earlier this season, the Bears picked up their first Pac-10 win with a 66-62 overtime decision in Tempe on Dec. 30. Ayinde Ubaka scored eight of his 14 points in the extra period to pace Cal. Last year, ASU handed Cal a 65-64 double OT loss in Haas Pavilion.
ASU Head Coach Herb Sendek
Herb Sendek is in his first year at Arizona State and his 14th season as a collegiate head coach. He led North Carolina State to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2002-06 and was 191-132 with the Wolfpack. In addition to his 10 years at NC State, he was head coach for three seasons at Miami (Ohio) from 1994-96.
For more information: www.thesundevils.com.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Time Out: USC Downs Cal, 84-66
Taj Gibson had 18 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead USC to an 84-66 win over Cal last Saturday in Los Angeles. The Bears jumped out to a quick 9-2 edge on three-pointers by Patrick Christopher, Ryan Anderson and Omar Wilkes. But USC soon responded with its own 9-2 run and took the lead for good at 16-14. After trailing by 14 points early in the second half, the Bears got back within five at 49-44, before the Trojans pulled away. Ayinde Ubaka paced Cal with 15 points, with Anderson chipping in 14 and Robertson 13. The Bears attempted a season-low six free throws, making just four.
Final Home Weekend for Cal Duo
Two Golden Bears - seniors Ayinde Ubaka and Alex Pribble - will be suiting up for their final regular-season contests this weekend when Cal hosts Arizona and Arizona State. Ubaka, an All-Pac-10 selection last year, is the only player in school history to score 1,000 points, make 100 three-pointers and dish out 300 assists. He has started 95 of his 105 games played entering the week. Pribble arrived at Cal as a walk-on and earned a scholarship prior to the 2005-06 campaign. He is a two-time winner of Cal's Hustle Award and was a first-team Pac-10 All-Academic choice in 2006.
Bears Break Three-Point Record vs. UCLA
When Patrick Christopher nailed a three-pointer with 6:18 left at UCLA last Thursday, it gave the Bears their 199th three-pointer of the year, breaking the Cal mark of 198 set during the 2002-03 campaign. After making 8-of-13 from behind the arc against the Bruins and 10 more at USC on Saturday, the Bears enter this week with 212 treys. Ryan Anderson leads the squad with 50 three-pointers, with Ayinde Ubaka tossing in 48 and Omar Wilkes 31. Three other Cal players have also sunk at least 20 on the season - freshman Jerome Randle (23), sophomore Theo Robertson (23) and junior Eric Vierneisel (20).
Cal Team Three-Pointer List1. 2006-07 212-581 36.5%2. 2003-03 198-530 37.4%3. 1989-90 196-507 38.7%4. 1994-95 189-530 35.7%
Braun Snares 200th Cal Win vs. Oregon State
Head coach Ben Braun, already the No. 2 on Cal's all-time victory list, picked up his 200th win with the Bears with an 84-80 overtime decision vs. Oregon State Feb. 17. Braun now sports a 200-135 mark in Berkeley. Nibs Price ranks No. 1 in school history with 449 wins from 1925-54. Braun, in his 11th season at Cal, owns school records for most postseason berths (7), most NCAA Tournaments (5), most postseason wins (11) and most 20-win seasons (6).
Ayinde Ubaka First to 1,000 Points, 100 3-Pointers, 300 Assists
With 22 points at Oregon State Jan. 18, senior G Ayinde Ubaka became the 35th player in school history to score 1,000 points in a career, and entering Thursday's game vs. Arizona, he is 23rd with 1,130 points. Ubaka is the first Bear ever to have at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists. He already ranks fourth in the Cal record book in assists (398) and fifth in treys (149).
Cal Scoring Leaders21. Michael Chavez (1980-83) 1,16222. Butch Hays (1981-84) 1,14523. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 1,130
Bears Face One of Nation's Toughest Schedules in 2006-07
According to almost any measure, Cal is playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country this year. The highest ranking comes from the Sagarin Ratings, which put the Bears' strength of schedule at No. 3. Other high rankings are: collegerpi.com - #8, Ken Pomeroy's kenpom.com - #9, CBS Sportsline RPI - #9 and ESPN's InsideRPI - #8. Among the highly rated opponents for Cal (using the collegerpi.com list) are No. 1 UCLA, No. 15 Arizona, No. 19 Nevada, No. 25 Oregon, No. 27 Washington State, No. 40 Stanford, No. 46 San Diego State, No. 49 USC, No. 55 Kansas State and No. 61 DePaul.
One other way to look at Cal's schedule in 2006-07 - among all Division I schools, only Arizona (15) and Georgia Tech (14) have played more games against the RPI Top 50 than Cal (13), according to kenpom.com.
Cal 13th in Country in Fewest Turnovers per Game
Cal, which led the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers last season (12.4 per game), is committing just 11.6 topg this year - second in the league to Washington State (10.2 topg) and 13th among all Division I schools. The Bears have committed more than 15 just three times and 12 or fewer on 13 occasions. Cal had a season-low seven turnovers vs. Stanford Feb. 3 and just eight TOs in a 78-48 victory over Kansas State Nov. 29. The Bears also committed nine total turnovers vs. Washington State Jan. 11 and at USC Feb. 24, and 10 seven other times.
Bears on Record Free Throw Pace, Rank No. 1 in NCAA
Perhaps the greatest area of improvement for the Bears over the past couple of years has been at the free throw line. After ranking last in the Pac-10 in both 2004 (62.8%) and 2005 (62.7%), Cal not only leads the league this year, but is No. 1 in the country at 77.6 percent. The Bears have been perfect from the line three times this season - 11-for-11 vs. Loyola Marymount Nov. 25, 12-for-12 at Oregon Jan. 20 and 8-for-8 vs. USC Jan. 27. The Oregon performance set a school record for most attempts without a miss. In addition, Cal was 42-for-44 at the charity stripe in the Great Alaska Shootout. Freshman Jerome Randle made the first 12 tries of his career and paces the squad at 82.7 percent, while junior Omar Wilkes is at 80.8 percent. The school team record is 73.5 percent set in 1986-87.
NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Feb. 26)1. California 342-441 77.6%2. Villanova 481-620 77.6%3. Utah State 424-549 77.2%4. Air Force 395-513 77.0%5. Florida State 422-550 76.7%
Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 16.5 ppg to date, F Ryan Anderson is aiming to become the third freshman to pace Cal in scoring since 1996. Leon Powe was the last Cal rookie to accomplish the feat when he averaged 15.1 ppg in 2004 and was voted Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Back in 1996, Shareef Abdur-Rahim not only led the Bears, but he paced the Pac-10 with 21.1 ppg and was named both Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007) 16.5 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004) 15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990) 14.9 ppg
Trio Scores at Least 20 for First Time in Four Seasons
When Patrick Christopher (24 points), Ayinde Ubaka (21) and Theo Robertson (21) all broke the 20-point barrier vs. Oregon State Feb. 17, they became the first trio to accomplish the feat for the Bears since March 2, 2003 when Joe Shipp (21), Brian Wethers (20) and Amit Tamir (20) also did it in an 80-72 win over Arizona State. Both Christopher and Robertson scored at least 20 points for the first time in setting career highs.
Patrick Christopher Has Career Week in Home Sweep
Cal posted its first sweep of the Pac-10 season with wins over Oregon (63-61) and Oregon State (84-80 OT) Feb. 15-17, and the Bears certainly can thank freshman Patrick Christopher for helping them to the two victories. In the Feb. 15 triumph over the then-No. 15 Ducks, Christopher came off the bench for 13 of his career-high 16 points in the first half, helping Cal to a 35-27 lead at the break. Then in the Feb. 17 contest vs. Oregon State, Christopher bettered his output, finishing with personal bests in both scoring (24 points) and rebounding (11). In the two games, he shot 17-for-28 from the floor (60.7%), including 3-for-8 from three-point range. He had started 12 consecutive games prior to straining a groin before the Feb. 8 Washington State game. He played as a reserve for three contests vs. WSU, Oregon and OSU before returning to the opening lineup at UCLA.
Cal Keeping It Close in Pac-10 Wins
All six of Cal's Pac-10 wins this season have been by five points or less or decided in overtime. The Bears' largest margin was a 77-69 overtime decision against Washington on Jan. 11. Cal also won by two points over Oregon Feb. 15 (63-61), by three at Oregon St. Jan. 18 (77-74) and by four over Stanford Jan. 3 (67-63), Arizona St. Dec. 30 (66-62 OT) and Oregon St. (84-80 OT) Feb. 17. Overall, the Bears are 7-2 in games determined by five points or less or OT.
Anderson Logging Heavy Minutes as a Freshman
Having been on the court for 914 minutes this season, forward Ryan Anderson is just the second freshman during the Ben Braun era to log more than 900 minutes. The other was PG Shantay Legans, who played 952 minutes in 1999-2000. The only other Cal freshmen to play at least 900 minutes since 1990 are: Shareef Abdur-Rahim (972, 1995-96), Jason Kidd (922, 1992-93) and Brian Hendrick (996, 1989-90).
Bears Lose Two Centers to Injury
When practice started for the 2006-07 season in October, the Bears believed they had a combination of depth and experience up front that would make the post position one of the strongest areas of the team. But by mid-December, Cal found itself shorthanded in the middle. First, 7-0 sophomore C Jordan Wilkes partially tore a tendon in his left knee during practice Nov. 7, and he underwent season-ending surgery two weeks later. Then 6-11 junior C DeVon Hardin, who was averaging 10.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg through 11 games, suffered a stress fracture to his left mid-foot vs. Furman Dec. 19. He also had surgery and is doubtful for a return this year. The losses have left Cal with just two players over 6-7 - freshmen Ryan Anderson and Taylor Harrison.
Vierneisel Misses UCLA, USC Games with Ankle Sprain
Junior F Eric Vierneisel sprained his left ankle in practice on Wednesday, Jan. 24, causing him to miss the Jan. 25 UCLA and Jan. 27 USC contests. His loss left the Bears played with just eight healthy scholarship players for those two games. Vierneisel returned vs. Stanford Feb. 3, but did not score. He had been averaging 9.4 ppg in Pac-10 games before the injury.
Knezevic Out Following Knee Surgery
Sophomore G Nikola Knezevic, who was expected to be a major contributor at point guard this season, has yet to see any action following offseason knee surgery. Knezevic hurt his right knee over the summer, and although he has been able to practice on a limited basis, he has not been cleared for games.
Jamal Boykin Transfers to Cal from Duke
Jamal Boykin, a 6-7, 230-pound forward, has transferred to Cal from Duke and has enrolled for the spring semester. Boykin played in 26 games as a freshman in 2005-06, helping the Blue Devils to a 32-4 record. He averaged 1.0 ppg and 0.8 rpg, shooting 47.1 percent from the floor (8-17) and 90.0 percent from the free throw line (9-10). Boykin saw action in just three games this past November, scoring four points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 30 minutes of action, before being sidelined with a severe case of mononucleosis. As a high school star at Fairfax HS in Los Angeles, Boykin was named the 2005 Gatorade State Player of the Year when he averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and five assists per game. Also a third-team Parade All-American, he was the John Wooden Award winner as the Los Angeles Player of the Year.
Russ Critchfield to Be Inducted into Pac-10 Hall of Honor
Former Cal All-American Russ Critchfield will be inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor during a ceremony at the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles this March. One of the top guards in school history, he was a three-time team MVP from 1966-68 for the Bears. After earning honorable mention All-America honors as a junior, he was a first-team choice by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1968. Critchfield also claimed first-team all-conference honors twice. He finished his Cal career with 1,437 points, which rated No. 2 in school history at his graduation and still ranks eighth on the school's all-time list. In addition, his 19.4 ppg career scoring average is the third-best ever at Cal, and he is second in the Bear annals with 41 20-point games. In addition to Critchfield, UCLA alum Jamaal Wilkes, father of Cal players Omar and Jordan Wilkes, will also be inducted. The Pac-10 Hall of Honor inducts one former player, coach or administrator from each conference school every year.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal is 12-2 when holding opponents to 70 points or less, but 2-12 when opponents score 71 or more ... as a fitting tribute to Pete Newell's lifetime accomplishments in basketball as a coach, mentor and leader, a statue of the Hall of Famer and former Golden Bear head coach was installed inside the Club Room at Haas Pavilion prior to the start of the season ... with an 8-4 non-league record, Cal had its highest pre-Pac-10 victory total since going 9-1 heading into conference play in 2001-02 ... freshman Ryan Anderson was voted MVP of the Great Alaska Shootout; he was joined on the all-tournament team by Ayinde Ubaka and DeVon Hardin ... Cal has added four walk-ons to the roster: sophomore G Nican Robinson (5-10, 180, Oakland, CA/Oakland Tech HS), freshman F Thomas Fang (6-5, 200, San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS), freshman G David Liss (6-0, 165, San Francisco, CA/Branson School) and senior G Patrick Armstrong (6-0, 175, San Jose, CA/Bellarmine Prep) ... Cal's championship in the Great Alaska Shootout was the first in-season tournament victory for the Bears, other than the Golden Bear Classic, since taking the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., in December 1975.