Cal won't be watching Washington too closely

No longer controlling its destiny in Pac-12 title chase, Cal now focuses on Stanford.

BERKELEY, Calif. – At the same time California is practicing Saturday morning, its hopes of winning the Pacific-12 Conference regular season championship will be decided for them in Los Angeles as first-place Washington plays its season finale.

Whether intentional or coincidental, the timing reemphasizes an important lesson to players: focus only on what you can control.

"More than anything for us, just get in the proper mindset, go play hard, and recognize where we are," head coach Mike Montgomery said.

Cal lost control of its own destiny with a 70-57 loss at Colorado on Sunday, but could still claim a share of the title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament next week at Staples Center with a Huskies loss to either USC or UCLA, holding the tie-breaker because of the 69-66 win in the lone regular season meeting with Washington.

Meeting with the media Wednesday, Montgomery and players were still troubled by the effort against the Buffaloes. Colorado was simply tougher, outscoring Cal 34-18 in the paint and collecting 13 offensive rebounds, and played with more energy on Senior Day.

"I didn't think that was who we were," Montgomery said. "Defensively specifically we were just not very good and I think they all kind of acknowledged that."

Kamp took the blame for the lethargic play, saying the responsibility falls on him and senior guard Jorge Gutierrez to prevent such a letdown.

"I'm mostly just disappointed with my own leadership in that game," Kamp said. We just played way too soft. We weren't the team we normally are and it comes down to leadership when that type of thing happens.

"It's my fault. Me and Jorge, as the seniors, have to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Gutierrez was held scoreless, going 0-of-7 from the field at Colorado, but Montgomery wasn't overly concerned, noting that the Buffaloes "didn't put (former San Antonio Spurs guard) Bruce Bowen on him. The ball just didn't go down."

Instead Montgomery stressed to Gutierrez the need to find other ways to contribute, especially on defense.

"I just reiterated his value to us in so many different ways, that there is so many things he can do not to focus on that (game)," Montgomery said.

Any championship scenario is contingent on defeating Stanford at Maples Pavilion on Sunday. After "grieving," as Kamp put it, the Colorado loss for two days, the focus is now squarely on the Cardinal.

"Today we move forward," he said. "It has to be that way."

"We just have to put it behind us," guard Allen Crabbe said. "Try and have a good week of practice and work on the things that we didn't do so well. We had a good practice yesterday."

As for the timing of practice Saturday, Kamp said he was more that fine with the timing after watching Washington eek out a 59-55 win at Washington State last Saturday, the Cougars missing 14 second-half free throws.

"You get pretty nervous," he said. "Not watching the game might be best and just focus on our game. That will be the key to preparing ourselves."


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