BERKELEY -- California sophomore forward Ivan Rabb and senior wing Jabari Bird have been ruled out against Cal State-Bakersfield in the opening round of the NIT. Bird is still recovering from a concussion suffered 65 seconds in to the Bears' Pac-12 Tournament semifinal loss to Oregon, and Rabb is out due to a non-specific foot injury. When asked, a Cal spokesperson would give no details on how Rabb was injured.
The combination of the two injuries -- one known several days in advance, and another sudden -- echoes the end of last season, when senior point guard Tyrone Wallace suffered a broken hand before the Bears headed to Spokane, Wash., as the No. 4 seed against No. 13-seed Hawaii in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Before that game, Bird went down with back spasms, and the Warriors took advantage with a 77-66 win.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1762699-bear-republic-podc... Rabb, averaging 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, is a first-team All-Pac-12 player, and is projected to be a high first-round pick in the NBA Draft. Before the season, Rabb was projected to go as high as the No. 14 pick overall in the NBA Draft, but who has since fallen to No. 21, out of the NBA Draft Lottery, according to DraftExpress. According to NBADraft.net, Rabb is headed to the Chicago Bulls at No. 17. He's still among the top picks, according to NESN, listed as No. 12 to the Charlotte Hornets.
Without Rabb and Bird, the Bears (21-12) are missing both of their top two scorers against the regular-season WAC champions. Rabb and Bird averaged 28.3 points per game, and 15.2 rebounds -- accounting for 41.6% of Cal's scoring, and 39% of the Bears' rebounds. Their loss means that the top two scorers left are Charlie Moore -- who, after scoring 10 points in the first half against the Ducks, scored just five in the second -- and Grant Mullins, who scored a career-high 23 on Friday, but averages 10.3 points per game. Moore averages 12.5.
Given that Bakersfield averages 22.4 personal fouls per game -- eighth in the nation -- Cal will have to find a way to knock down free throws. Cal is 291st in the nation in free throw percentage (66.3%). Moore is a 75.6% free throw shooter. Mullins is a 78.8% shooter from the line.
Rabb had 16 double-doubles on the season, and Bird -- who missed six games earlier this season due to injury -- had eight 20-point games this season.