#39 California Golden Bears: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Even though last season was a year of transition, the California Golden Bears still finished with the fourth best record in the Pac-10.  With almost everybody back from a year ago, Cal should make some noise out west.

CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
Last Season: T-4th, 10-8 in Pac-10, 18-15 overall
Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 5th

Projected Depth Chart
C: Harper Kamp (Sr)/David Kravish (Fr)
PF: Richard Solomon (So)/Bak Bak (Jr)/Christian Beherns (Fr)
G/F: Allen Crabbe (So)/Alex Rossi (Fr)/Jeff Powers (So)
SG: Jorge Gutierrez (Sr)/Emerson Murray (So)
PG: Brandon Smith (Jr)/Justin Cobbs (So)

Gone: C-Makhuri Sanders-Frison, PG-Gary Franklin (transfer-Baylor), SG-Nigel Carter

2011-2012 Outlook:
The most encouraging piece to carry over from last season was the play of Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Allen Crabbe.  The 6-4 shooting guard broke the program’s single season record for three-pointers but is also dangerous when attacking the basket.

Crabbe will be part of a three-guard backcourt that will feature Jorge Gutierrez and Brandon Smith.  Last year, Gutierrez made the step from a role player to leading scorer.  He is capable of handling the basketball and is also a terrific defender.  Smith stepped into the starting line-up after Gary Franklin’s decision to transfer and gives Cal a pair of guards capable of running the show or playing off the ball.

Minnesota transfer Justin Cobbs becomes eligible after sitting out last season and figures to be the first guard off the bench.  Emerson Murray and Jeff Powers played sparingly a year ago and will compete for minutes on the wing with redshirt freshman Alex Rossi.  Missouri transfer Ricky Kreklow must sit out a year, but will be a valuable contributor beginning in 2012-13 due to his ability to shoot the rock.

After missing the entire 2009-2010 season due to injury, Harper Kamp became a major contributor for the Golden Bears last season.  He is a fundamental big man who is also capable of hitting mid-range jump shots.  Richard Solomon will likely step into the other starting frontcourt spot replacing the physical Makhuri Sanders-Frison.  Solomon is a long, athletic power forward who will be a different compliment to Kamp.

Bak Bak is the only post reserve with college experience and he really wasn’t much of a factor last season.  Freshmen David Kravish and Christian Beherns will try to work themselves into the rotation.

Cal’s starting five is solid and experienced especially compared to many of their Pac-12 counterparts that boast a lot of youth.  With some uncertainty on the bench, the starters will have to carry the load for Mike Montgomery’s team.  They seem to be a sexy pick to possible finish in the top three of the conference, but I am not sure they are there quite yet.

allen crabbe cal

Player to Watch: Allen Crabbe
Crabbe probably didn’t receive his due on a national level last season but with Cal’s expected success in 2011-2012, Crabbe won’t fly under the radar this season.  He should become the team’s leading scorer but won’t have to do it all by himself with proven commodities Gutierez and Kamp sharing the load.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/13 vs. George Washington
11/21 vs. Georgia (CBE Classic)
11/22 vs. Notre Dame/Missouri (CBE Classic)
12/4 at San Diego State
12/16 vs. Weber State

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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