If you follow on Twitter, or listen to me yap on radio, you'll know I thought the Cal Bears coming into this basketball season. The Bears are deep, experienced and have the best all-around player in the league in Jorge Gutierrez. And while other teams like Arizona, UCLA and Washington have all slipped up in the nonconference season, the Bears have not.
The best way I can describe how they play is mature. The No. 20 Bears play a very mature brand of basketball. They run their stuff offensively, and understand what they need to do defensively. Last night's 87-58 win over Georgia in the CBE Classic was a pretty good example. Cal didn't look particularly crisp early. But the Bears didn't resort to taking quick shots or gambling. They stayed with their stuff, knowing it would come around eventually.
Cal plays No. 21 Missouri tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2, should be a good game to watch.
Elsewhere in the Pac-12
Reeves Nelson managed to not be late to last night's game against Chaminade and UCLA managed not to lose to a Division II school, though it was close for the first half.
From Ben Bolch's game story ...
Things threatened to unravel in historic fashion Monday when Coach Ben Howland sat forward Reeves Nelson for the first half as punishment for missing a team bus, and UCLA led Chaminade by only two points at halftime.
The Bruins' first 0-3 start in 71 years seemed a realistic possibility.
That's when the UCLA team that had started the season nationally ranked finally showed up, pushing back the spunky Silverswords for a 92-60 victory at the Lahaina Civic Center in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.The Bruins play No. 14 Kansas tonight at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Oregon State suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of No. 19 Vanderbilt, 66-64, Strangely, Brad Tinsley, who was Oregon's 6A player of the year out of Oregon City in 2007, buried a jump shot to seal the game for the Commodores at the Legends Classic in New Jersey.
Jared Cunnigham, who was named the Pac-12 player of the week on Tuesday, was held to nine points. He had a chance to tie the game after Tinsley's jumper. From the game story ...
After Tinsley connected on his off-balance shot, Joe Burton inbounded the ball to Cunningham, who drove down the right-hand side of the court. With Taylor and other Commodores in his face, Cunningham's baseline jumper fell short, clinching the Beavers' first loss after starting the season with four consecutive victories.
"The refs never really cost you the game," said OSU coach Craig Robinson, when asked whether he thought Cunningham was fouled. "But having said that, there was a lot of contact on that (shot). ... I'm not complaining, though." Also ...
Arizona's Sidiki Johnson was suspended for violated team rules. No word on when he will be reinstated.
ASU is still waiting and waiting on the NCAA to make a ruling on Jahii Carson.
Nice feature by my fellow Montana alum Bill Oram on Utah point guard Jiggy Watkins.