Cal Visits Ohio State in NIT Second Round

March 21, 2008

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MasterCard National Invitation Tournament
California Golden Bears (17-15) at Ohio State Buckeyes (20-13)

Monday, March 24, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, St. John Arena, Columbus, OH
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)

Following a 68-66 victory over New Mexico on Wednesday, California travels to Columbus, Ohio, to meet Ohio State in the second round of the MasterCard National Invitation Tournament. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and be telecast on ESPN.

The Cal-OSU winner will face the Dayton-Illinois State winner for the right to advance to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York April 1-3.

Cal is participating in the NIT for the sixth time and has an 11-4 record in the event. The Bears captured the title in 1999 and reached the quarterfinals in both 1987 and 2000.

Ohio State, the top seed in the region, defeated UNC Asheville, 84-66, in its opening game March 18 to improve to 20-13 on the year.

Fourth-seeded Cal used a pair of Jamal Boykin free throws with 3.7 seconds left to break a 66-all tie en route to its two-point win over New Mexico. Sophomore F Ryan Anderson added 26 points for the Bears, while senior F Eric Vierneisel dished out a career-best eight assists from his forward spot.

Anderson, a first-team All-Pac-10 choice and second-team All-American (The Sporting News), leads the Pac-10 in scoring with 21.4 ppg and is third in the league in rebounding with 9.9 rpg. With 1,225 career points, he is already 16th on Cal's all-time scoring list, and his 686 points this year is the second-highest season total in school history.

Sophomore G Patrick Christopher, an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick, contributes 15.5 ppg and has 11 20-point games on the year, including a 25-point outburst vs. Washington in the Pac-10 Tournament.

Up front, senior C DeVon Hardin paces the squad with 37 blocked shots and is second on the Bears with 7.4 rpg. Hardin ranks No. 2 in career blocks with 132 and 13th with 644 rebounds on the Cal charts.

As a team, the Bears lead the conference in scoring with 77.0 ppg and could pace the Pac-10 for the first time. In addition, Cal is third in the country in free throw shooting at 77.7 percent.

The Bears own a 6-7 record away from home this year and have registered some of their biggest victories on the road. Cal broke Nevada's 13-game home win streak with a 74-68 decision Nov. 28, and the Bears upended then-No. 9 Washington State, 69-64, in Pullman Jan. 31 for their first road win over a Top 10 team since 1995. Cal's most recent road triumph came at Arizona State, 76-73, on Feb. 16.

Probable StartersPOS  NO   NAME                  HT    WT   YR   PPG   RPGF    14   Eric Vierneisel       6-7   210  Sr   5.2   2.6Career-high 8 assists vs. New Mexico; 20 points vs. Washington 3/1F    34   Ryan Anderson         6-10  240  So   21.4  9.91st team All-Pac-10; 2nd-team All-American; Wooden Award finalistC    35   DeVon Hardin          6-11  250  Sr   9.5   7.4Team-high 37 blocks; No. 2 on Cal's career blocks list (132)G     3   Jerome Randle         5-10  165  So   11.6  3.8 apg17 points at Arizona; Golden Bear Classic MVP; team-high 23 stealsG    23   Patrick Christopher   6-5   215  So   15.5  3.725 pts. vs. Washington in Pac-10 tourney; 24 points at USC

Cal Head Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history and No. 8 among NCAA Division I active coaches, is in his 12th year in Berkeley and 31st season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 219-153, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 552-388. 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. 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.

Ohio State Scouting Report

A Look at Ohio State
Ohio State, the NCAA runner-up last year, is 20-13 overall and owns a 15-3 record at home this season. The Buckeyes finished fifth in the Big Ten with a 10-8 mark. Senior guard Jamar Butler, a second-team All-Big Ten choice, leads OSU in both scoring (14.7 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg), and he is 91-for-236 from three-point range (38.6%).

Cal-Ohio State Series History
Cal holds a 9-7 series lead, but the teams haven't met since Ohio State won, 75-55, in the 1960 NCAA championship game. The schools also played in the 1946 Final Four in New York, with OSU prevailing, 63-45.

Ohio State Head Coach Thad Matta
Thad Matta has a 203-66 record in his eighth season as a collegiate head coach, leading his teams to five regular-season league titles. He is 101-35 in his fourth year at Ohio State. Matta was 24-8 in one season at Butler in 2000-01 and also posted a 78-23 mark the following three years at Xavier.

Probable StartersPos  No   Name             Ht   Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF    45   Othello Hunter   6-8  225  Sr   9.8   6.2C    31   Kosta Koufos     7-0  265  Fr   13.9  6.7G    14   Jamar Butler     6-1  195  Sr   14.7  6.0 apgG    21   Evan Turner      6-6  200  Fr   7.9   4.2G    23   David Lighty     6-5  215  Sr   8.8   3.6

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Golden Bear Notes

A Look at Cal's History in the NIT
Cal is participating in the NIT for the sixth time and owns an 11-4 record in the event after last Wednesday's win over New Mexico. 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.

During the title run in 1999, Cal reached the semifinals 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.

Cal, Ohio State Meet for First Time since 1960 NCAA Final
When Cal visits Ohio State Monday, the teams will be playing each other for the first time since the 1960 NCAA Tournament final, won by the Buckeyes, 75-55, at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. The Bears, who were the defending NCAA champions, were 28-1 and ranked second in the country heading into the contest. In the NCAA semifinals, Cal defeated Oscar Robertson-led Cincinnati, 77-69, behind 25 points and 11 rebounds from center Darrall Imhoff. But in their quest for a second title, the Bears dropped a 20-point decision. Cal shot just 33.9 percent from the floor to OSU's 67.4 percent. Imhoff, who later earned a spot on the 1960 U.S. Olympic team, was limited to just eight points. For Cal's Pete Newell, who went on to coach the '60 Olympic squad to a gold medal and earn a place in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, it was his final game as a collegiate head coach.

Ryan Anderson First Bear to 600-300 Club
With 686 points and 317 rebounds this season, sophomore F Ryan Anderson has become the first player in school history to register at least 600 points and 300 boards in one year. Anderson's point total is the second highest ever at Cal, trailing only the 729 points scored by Lamond Murray in 1994. He is also the first Bear since Mark McNamara in 1982 to grab 300 or more rebounds. In addition to being the sole member of the 600-300 club, Anderson is also the first Cal player to go for 500-250 twice after finishing with 539 points and 269 boards as a freshman. In school history, only four others Bears have managed to pull off the feat once: Leonard Taylor in 1987 (649 points, 270 rebounds), Mark McNamara in 1982 (593-341), Ansley Truitt in 1972 (544-382) and Leon Powe in 2006 (553-273).

Cal Posting Highest Rebound Margin since 1993
With a +3.3 rebound margin this season, Cal has its highest differential since the 1992-93 squad owned a +4.6 per game advantage on the boards. The Bears have posted double-digit advantages seven times, most recently vs. Oregon State Feb. 7 when they held a 44-32 edge. The largest margin came against Missouri Dec. 1 when Cal won the board battle, 41-20. In the Feb. 24 game at Stanford, the Bears became the first Pac-10 team to outrebound the Cardinal, finishing with a 39-33 count, while Cal out-boarded UCLA, 30-29, in the Pac-10 Tournament. Individually, Ryan Anderson ranks third in the conference with 9.9 per game, while DeVon Hardin is seventh in the league with 7.4 rpg. Hardin opened the year with three straight games of 14, followed by a 16-rebound effort at Nevada, to become the first Bear to grab 14 or more in four consecutive contests since Darrall Imhoff in 1959-60.

Cal's Top Rebounding Margins Last 20 YearsYear      Cal Reb   Opp Reb   Margin1992-93   37.9      33.3      +4.62007-08   35.9      32.6      +3.31988-89   33.2      30.6      +2.61996-97   38.0      35.5      +2.5

Anderson Could Be Cal's 7th Pac-10 Scoring Champ since '94
Now contributing 21.4 ppg and owner of four 30-point games this year, sophomore F Ryan Anderson is on his way to becoming the Bears' seventh conference scoring champion in the past 15 years. Anderson set a career best with 36 points at Nevada and later tossed in 32 vs. Arizona State, 30 against Arizona and 33 at Washington. Only two players at Cal have had more 30-point games in one year - Ed Gray had six in 1996-97 and Lamond Murray had five in 1993-94. Anderson enters Monday's Ohio State game having reached double figures in 35 straight contests, and he has scored 20 or more points 18 times this year, including 10 games with at least 25 points. The school record for consecutive games scoring at least 10 points is 51 in a row by Lamond Murray (1993-94).

Recent Cal Pac-10 Scoring ChampionsLamond Murray         1993-94   24.3 ppgShareef Abdur-Rahim   1995-96   21.1 ppgEd Gray               1996-97   24.8 ppgSean Lampley          2000-01   19.5 ppgJoe Shipp             2002-03   20.4 ppgLeon Powe             2005-06   20.5 ppgRyan Anderson         2007-08   21.4 ppg**currently leads Pac-10

Cal Among NCAA Free Throw Leaders Again, Now No. 3
From 1997 through 2005, Cal never once managed to make 70 percent of its attempts from the free throw line. But over the last three years, the Bears have proven to be one of the most accurate teams in the country. After connecting on 73.3 percent of its tries in 2006 - Cal's highest rate since 1989 - the Bears ranked third in the country in 2007 with a school-record 76.9 percent. Now, Cal is ahead of that pace, having drained 77.7 percent from the stripe, a figure that is third best in the NCAA as of March 20. The Bears were perfect from the line at Washington State (6-6) and have been 85 percent or higher seven times. Individually, Jerome Randle is connecting on 87.0 percent of his attempts and his career rate of 84.6 percent is the highest in school history. Ryan Anderson is right behind, with an 86.8 percentage this year and No. 3 on the career chart at 84.0 percent. Perhaps more importantly, Cal is getting to the line with significantly more frequency than last season, averaging 21.3 trips per game compared to 15.8 visits in 2006-07.

Top Free Throw Rates in School HistoryYear         FT-FTA    Pct1. 2007-08   529-681   .7772. 2006-07   400-520   .7693. 1986-87   513-698   .7354. 2005-06   525-716   .733

NCAA Free Throw Leaders (as of 3/20/08)1. Utah State 523-660 .7922. UC Davis 401-515 .7793. California 529-681 .7774. IUPUI 498-642 .7765. Florida State 529-684 .773

Bears Pouring in the Points, Could Lead Pac-10 for 1st Time
Now averaging 77.0 ppg, Cal leads the Pac-10 and has its highest scoring rate since the 1994-95 squad poured in 79.9 ppg. This year's output also represents a 7.5 ppg increase over last season, when the Bears averaged 69.5 ppg. Cal has scored at least 90 points four times, including a pair of games over 100, and 80 or more on nine occasions. In fact, Cal's 117-74 win over Jackson State Dec. 5 represented the third-highest single-game total in school history. The Bears also defeated Long Beach State, 102-65, on Dec. 28 in the first round of the Golden Bear Classic, and topped USC, 92-82, in their Pac-10 opener. Cal has never led the Pac-10 in scoring for a full season.

Hardin, Vierneisel Shine on Senior Day
In their final game in Haas Pavilion, senior DeVon Hardin and Eric Vierneisel came through with the best combined outing of their careers vs. Washington March 1. Hardin matched his season best with 18 points (including 16 in the first half) and grabbed 13 rebounds - his highest total since snaring 16 at Nevada on Nov. 28. Vierneisel, meanwhile, established personal bests for both points (20) and rebounds (7). He shot 5-for-5 from behind the arc, tying the school record for most three-pointers made without a miss (also Amit Tamir vs. Arizona State, March 3, 2003). Since beginning the year 3-for-25 from the floor and 1-for-16 from three-point range, Vierneisel has gone 46-for-106 (43.4%), including 24-for-65 on treys (36.9%). In Pac-10 games, he paced the Bears from behind the arc at 41.2 percent (19-46).

Ryan Anderson: Cal's First 1,000-Point Sophomore
With 22 points vs. Oregon State Feb. 7, F Ryan Anderson became the first sophomore in school history to score 1,000. He is the 36th Cal player ever to attain the 1,000-point level and enters Monday's action 16th all-time with 1,225 points. Only two other Bears scored 1,000 points in their first two years with the program, and both of them transferred in. Mark McNamara, who began his career at Santa Clara, had 1,041 points in 1981 and '82, while Ed Gray finished with 1,082 points in 1996 and '97 after entering Cal from the College of Southern Idaho. Anderson's total of 1,225 points is the second-highest two-season figure in Cal history when considering all years played.

Most Points Freshman-Sophomore Seasons at CalName                          Frosh   Soph   Total1. Ryan Anderson (2007-08)    539     686    12252. Brian Hendrick (1990-91)   478     492    9703. Leon Powe (2004, 06)       409     553    962

Most Points in Back-to-Back Seasons at CalName Best 2 Years 1st Year 2nd Year Total1. Lamond Murray 1993-94 572 729 13012. Ryan Anderson 2007-08 539 686 12253. Sean Lampley 2000-01 549 605 1154

Year of the Sophomore for Golden Bears
In many circles around the country, the 2007-08 season has been deemed the Year of the Freshman for the number of quality newcomers on college rosters. But at Cal, the campaign can easily be called the Year of the Sophomore. The Bears' second-year players are combining to average 59.4 ppg, or 77.2 percent of Cal's total. The team's top three scorers are all sophomores, led by Ryan Anderson's 21.4 ppg. He is followed by Patrick Christopher with 15.5 ppg and Jerome Randle with 11.6 ppg. Each player has set a career high, as well. Anderson poured in 36 points at Nevada, Christopher had 26 vs. Jackson State, and Randle came through with 26 points against North Dakota State. Including Cal's freshmen, the Bears are getting 83.0 percent of their points and 71.9 percent of their rebounds from underclassmen.

Cal Production by Class            Points (Avg.)   Rebounds (Avg.)   Assists (Avg.)Senior      439 (13.7)      300 (9.4)         91 (2.8)Junior      0 (0.0)         0 (0.0)           0 (0.0)Sophomore   1902 (59.4)     684 (21.7)        358 (11.2)Freshman    144 (4.5)       80 (2.5)          34 (1.1)

DeVon Hardin Holds Down No. 2 Block Spot
With 132 blocks during his Cal career, senior C DeVon Hardin has cemented his place as the No. 2 shot-blocker in school history. Michael Stewart, who played from 1994-97, is the all-time leader with 207. Hardin has swatted 37 shots this year and is well on his way to leading the team for the third consecutive season. He had a high of 48 as a sophomore in 2006, and although he was limited to just 11 games due to a foot stress fracture last year, he still had a team-best 21. On the offensive end, Hardin is shooting a career-high 55.8 percent from the floor, which ranks eighth in the Pac-10, tossing in 9.5 ppg.

Anderson Reaps Pac-10, National Honors for WSU, UW Effort
Sophomore F Ryan Anderson, who averaged 30.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg in wins at Washington State and Washington Jan. 31-Feb.2, was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week, as well as the, The Sporting News and National Player of the Week. Dick Vitale also selected him Co-Player of the Week. Anderson made 20-of-32 shots from the floor (62.5%), 9-of-14 from three-point range (64.3%) and all 11 of his free throw tries. He had 27 points and nine rebounds at WSU, including the go-ahead layup with 42 seconds left, and 33 points and a career-high-tying 17 boards at UW.

Patrick Christopher One of Most Improved In Pac-10
After averaging 5.2 ppg and reaching double figures just four times as a freshman last year, G Patrick Christopher has shown off a new-found scoring ability this season, reaching double digits in 25 games, including 21 games of 15 or more. Now tossing in 15.5 ppg, he is scoring 10.3 ppg more than he did last year - the highest increase for any Pac-10 player this year. Christopher tied his high from his freshman campaign with 24 points against Nicholls State Nov. 19, then set a personal best with 26 points vs. Jackson State Dec. 5. He also scored 24 points in both games vs. USC this year. And in Cal's win over Washington in the Pac-10 Tournament, Christopher finished with 25 points and two steals, playing all 40 minutes. In addition, he is grabbing 3.7 rpg, has dished out 64 assists (2.1 apg) and is shooting 79.6 percent from the free throw line.

Bears Learning to Win the Close Ones
Entering Monday's game, Cal owns a 6-7 record in games decided by five points or less or in overtime this year. The Bears lost their first four close games, won their next for, then lost three in a row before edging Washington, 84-81, in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament and New Mexico, 68-66, in the NIT first round. With a young team that often features four sophomore starters and includes just two seniors and no juniors on the roster, Cal is 2-5 in such games at home and 4-2 outside of Berkeley, including victories at then-No. 9 Washington State (69-64) and at Arizona State (76-73). The two road losses were at USC (93-89 in OT) and at UCLA (81-80).

Cal's Schedule Rated as High as Nation's Seventh Toughest
According to the Sagarin Ratings, Cal's 2007-08 schedule is ranked as the seventh strongest in the country, behind three other Pac-10 teams - Arizona (1), USC (3) and Oregon (4) - Georgia Tech (2), Cincinnati (5) and Illinois (6). The Bears' schedule strength is also rated 28th by and 30th by's Inside RPI.

Anderson's Game Not Just about Points
Although Ryan Anderson has been piling up the points all season, scoring is not the only area where he excels. The 6-10 forward is pulling down 9.9 rpg, which rates third in the Pac-10. He has 15 double-doubles and paced the Bears on the glass 22 times (including ties). When he grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds at Oregon State Jan. 12 and followed it up with 15 more boards against Arizona State Jan. 17, Anderson became the first Cal player to have at least 15 rebounds in back-to-back contests since Brian Hendrick had 15 at Washington State and 17 vs. ASU on Feb. 1-6, 1992. Anderson later matched his personal best with 17 boards at Washington Feb. 2. His career sum of 586 rebounds is the fifth-highest two-year total at Cal, and the four ahead of him all did it in their junior and senior seasons. In addition, Anderson is shooting 86.8 percent from the free throw line and 41.7 percent from three-point range. His 63 three-pointers on the year rate No. 3 at Cal and just five off the school record of 68 set by Ryan Drew in 1990.

Most Rebounds in Back-to-Back Seasons at CalName                Best 2 Years   1st Year   2nd Year   Total1. Ansley Truitt    1971-72        306        382        6882. Bob Presley      1968-69        347        282        6293. Darrall Imhoff   1959-60        318        371        6894. Mark McNamara    1981-82        272        341        6135. Ryan Anderson    2007-08        269        317        586

Bears Get Big Win in the Palouse
Cal's 69-64 win against then-No. 9 Washington State Jan. 31 represented the Bears' first over a Top 10 team in a true road game since topping then-No. 9 Arizona, 74-72, on Feb. 12, 1995, in Tucson. Cal did beat then-No. 4 UCLA, 76-69, in OT in last year's Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals, but the game was played in a neutral site at the Staples Center.

Charles Johnson Inducted into Pac-10 Hall of Honor
Charles Johnson, a 6-0 guard who served as team captain for three seasons from 1969-71, was inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor during ceremonies at the Pac-10 Tournament in March. Known as 'C.J.' he finished his Cal career with 1,025 points and pulled down more than 500 rebounds. He later played seven seasons in the NBA and won titles with the Washington Bullets and Golden State Warriors. Also inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996, Johnson passed away after a battle with cancer on June 1, 2007. Previous Cal inductees into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor are Pete Newell, Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd, Darrall Imhoff, Andy Wolfe and Russ Critchfield.

Cal Ranked No. 1 in Directors' Cup
Cal was ranked as the No. 1 athletic program in the country in the final fall Directors' Cup standings, marking the second year in a row the Bears have stood atop the rankings at the end of the fall seasons. Cal accumulated a total of 370 points in six sports, led by a national championship in men's water polo and an NCAA semifinal appearance in volleyball. In addition, the Bears earned points in football, men's cross country, and men's and women's soccer. The Directors' Cup measures the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country and awards points based on final national standings in a maximum of 10 NCAA-sponsored sports for both men and women. Last year, Cal also led the nation after the fall and finished ninth in the final standings. The Bears have placed in the top 10 four of the last five years, including a program-best seventh in 2006.

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