Cal Ready for Fresno State Game

March 16, 2001

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After watching almost every other team in the NCAA Tournament play its first round game, Cal will finally get underway in the South Regional when the eighth-seeded Bears play No. 9 seed Fresno State at approximately 7:10 p.m. Pacific Time tonight (9:10 p.m. local time).

Cal went through two workouts Thursday, first for 90 minutes on the University of Memphis campus, then in a 50-minute open practice on the court at the Pyramid.

Games in Memphis start this morning when Gonzaga meets Virginia and Oklahoma plays Indiana State. Cal's game will follow the Michigan State-Alabama State match-up.

Although every Cal player is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, the team has seemed loose throughout its visit and is trying to treat the game as normal as possible. The only difference appears to be the number of players who brought camcorders to video as much of the trip as possible.

'The mistake a lot of players make when they get to this level is they forget to enjoy the experience,' head coach Ben Braun said. 'It is important for our players to enjoy it. It is important that a player like (Sean) Lampley has a great experience.'

As has been the case all year, Fresno State is concerned about the impact Lampley can have on the game, and his battle with WAC Player of the Year Melvin Ely could be a big factor in determining the outcome against the Bulldogs.

'He is a fabulous player,' Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian said of Lampley. 'He is a great playmaker and the offense runs through him. He is like a point-forward. Larry Bird was a point-forward. Lampley is a guy who can lead the team in assists.'

The winner of the Cal-Fresno State game will likely face defending NCAA champion Michigan State in the second round. That game tips off at 1:45 p.m. Pacific Time. If the Bears win, the radio broadcast will move to 910 AM so 960 AM can air an Oakland A's game.

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