California Men's Basketball 2014 NIT Tournament Capsule

California Golden Bears
Pac-12 (19-13, 10-8)


It has been another solid season for California. California won 10 of its first 14 games before going just a little over .500 in the Pac-12 season. One of its big victories was a 60-58 win over Arizona that may save the team’s tournament bid from going up in smoke. Whatever the case, before the Pac-12 tournament started California was one win away from 20 victories for the fifth time in the six-year history of coach Mike Montgomery. In fact, Montgomery is the coach with the best winning percentage since Pete Newell had a .752 winning mark between 1954 and 1960.

Big Wins: 1/9 at Oregon (96-83), 2/1 Arizona (60-58), 3/8 Colorado (66-65)
Bad Losses: 12/6 at UC Santa Barbara (65-72), 1/22 at USC (69-77), 3/5 Utah (59-63)
Coach: Mike Montgomery (6 seasons at California)

Why They Can Surprise:
California excels in two categories, both of which have to do with dishing off the basketball. California is third in the Pac-12 in assists (15.16 per game) and second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.49, behind in-state rival UCLA). This suggests California is good at not only scoring but making sure others get in on the act and that the team takes care of the ball. There are also four scorers on the team, three of which are very close to each other in points. Justin Cobbs averages a little over 15.5 points per game, while David Kravish, Tyrone Wallace and Richard Solomon are just over 11 points per game. If one scorer has an off night, someone else can pick up the slack. Other teams can’t plan to stop one person because other scorers can rise to the occasion. Oh, and there’s the matter of the win over Arizona. At the time Arizona was the No. 1 team in the nation and it was undefeated. That proves the Golden Bears can surprise teams if not careful.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Take a look at California’s late-season schedule. Ideally you want your team to be peaking at just the right time, not sliding in the other direction. California lost four of its last six regular season games and needed overtime to nip Colorado. You don’t want a team slumping as it enters the tournament, and that’s exactly where California is headed now. While the Golden Bears excel in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, they are not the strongest in other categories. And if a team comes in with a hot perimeter offense, that could cause problems. California was 10th in the conference with a 36.4 3-point percentage, meaning teams made just over one-third of long-range tries. That could pose a problem if California draws a hot perimeter offense in an early round contest.

Probable Starters:
Justin Cobbs, Senior, Guard, 15.8 ppg, 5.8 apg
Tyrone Wallace, Senior, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.7 apg
Jordan Mathews, Freshman, Guard, 8.5 ppg
David Kravish, Junior, Forward, 11.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.0 bpg
Richard Solomon, Sophomore, Forward, 11.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Ricky Kreklow, Junior, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Jabari Bird, Freshman, Guard, 7.4 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.2 (325th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.7 (46, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.6 (320, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.8 (183, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.5 (132, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.6 (196, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.9 (200, 6)
Rebound Margin: -1.2 (235, 7)
Assists Per Game: 11.8 (246, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.3 (6, 1)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NCAA    Second Round win over UNLV
2013    NCAA    Third Round loss to Syracuse
2012    NCAA    First Round loss to South Florida
2011    NIT        First Round win over Mississippi
2011    NIT        Second Round loss to Colorado
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Louisville
2010    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Duke
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Maryland
2008    NIT        First Round win over New Mexico
2008    NIT        Second Round loss to Ohio State
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to North Carolina State
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to North Carolina State

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules