Before Going Dancing, Issues To Address

California will hear its name called on Selection Sunday, but defensive implosion and other issues should be of greater concern than finding out who Bears will play.

LAS VEGAS – The season is not over.

That might be the one and only positive takeaway from California's all-too-brief experience at the Pac-12 Tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, knowing that the Golden Bears will be among the 68 teams selected Sunday afternoon to play in the NCAA Tournament.

That's the good news. Everything else? Not so much.

Based on every projection, Cal will be a double-digit seed looking at a long flight next week. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has them as a 10-seed in the East regional, playing San Diego State in Philadelphia. ESPN's Joe Lunardi forecasts a trip to Austin, Texas as the 11-seed to face Pittsburgh.

But finding out who their opponent is and what their itinerary looks to be are the least of the Bears' problems after losing the last two games in rather embarrassing fashion, leaving head coach Mike Montgomery with three pressing issues that must be addressed immediately to avoid another one-and-done after their 79-69 overtime flop against Utah on Thursday.

Among the most glaring concerns:

-Reigning in Tyrone Wallace
The freshman swingman looked he was back on track as the team's third scoring option after delivering 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting at Oregon State and 16 on 8-of-12 against Colorado.

However, Wallace has made just two field goals on 15 attempts during Cal's two-game losing streak, and the kinds of shots he is missing are what's so troubling. Instead of slashing towards the basket and using his athleticism, he has been settling for jump shots and continues to jack up ill-advised three-pointers.

Montgomery has spoken about the need to tweak Wallace's shot in the offseason, but might have to take more drastic measures and use a quick hook, something he was unable to do with Ricky Kreklow sidelined by a foot injury for all but seven games this season.

Kreklow played 18 minutes versus the Utes, scoring six points.

Never shy about delivering his message, Montgomery seemed to be sending one to Wallace through his use of the transfer from Missouri: play smarter or you can sit next to me.

-Get Something From The Post
Forwards David Kravish and Richard Solomon don't have it in them consistent game-to-game contributors yet. Blame it on their relative youth, pleasant demeanor or unconventional body types.

Those two, along with Robert Thurman, have to provide something for the Bears to be successful, even something as simple as rebounding or catching entry passes. Non-factors against Stanford and Utah, another no-show from the front line would be devastating.

-Fixing The Defense
But those concerns pale in comparison to the defensive meltdown that has reduced Cal to a mere shell of its former self. They came into the regular-season finale against the Cardinal allowing 61.8 points per game on 38.9 percent shooting, best in the Pac-12.

Stanford put the hammer down for an opponent single-game high 83 points, exploiting slow rotation to hit 9-of-17 shots from long range. Every time the Bears put even a touch on pressure on the Cardinal with a run, a wide-open three would end the threat.

Cal showed similar disinterest in defending the long ball against Utah, with Jarred DuBois hitting as good a look at a three-pointer as one could hope for with four seconds to play trying to send the game to overtime.

The energy and intensity that propelled the Bears to a seven-game winning streak came from their defense, supplementing its offense by getting easy looks on the fast break and always delivering at the most critical moments.

That didn't happen against Utah, despite what was supposed to be a wake-up call the week before, marking by far the worst two-game stretch on defense from Cal this season.

The Bears will get one last chance to remedy those issues. If they don't, this time the season really will be over.

Dan Greenspan writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan. Top Stories