California, the No.1 preseason team in the Pac-10, returns four
starters off last year's 22-11 squad. Head coach Mike Montgomery's
Golden Bears enter the Phog at 6-3 with losses to Syracuse, Ohio State,
and New Mexico. Cal's strength of schedule ranks second in the nation.
The Golden Bears' RPI is No. 16 and are No. 10 in the Pomeroy rankings
and No. 13 in the Sagarin poll.
After falling at New Mexico on Dec. 2, Cal is riding a two-game winning
streak with victories over Iowa State (82-63) and Pacific (79-53) on
Dec. 9. The Golden Bears average 79.1 points per game, while allowing
68.0. They shoot 46.6 percent from the field, 38.1 percent beyond the
arc, and 75.1 percent at the charity stripe. Cal holds foes to just
41.1 percent from the field and outrebounds opponents 40.2 to 33.1.
California, which starts three seniors and two sophomores, is led by
speedy 5-10 senior guard Jerome Randle. He averages a team-high 19.6
points and 5.1 assists per game, while shooting a scorching 93.5
percent (43-46) from the free-throw line. Randle ranks fifth in the
Pac-10 in scoring and is No. 13 on the school's career scoring list
with 1,360 points. He's also fourth on Cal's all-time assist list with
420 and second on the school's career three-point list with 183.
Senior guard Patrick Christopher also packs punch with a 15.6 point
scoring average and 5.6 rebounds per game. He's followed in scoring by
senior forward Theo Robertson (14.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg), who's working his
way back into the lineup after missing six games with a foot injury,
senior forward Jamal Boykin (12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg), sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez (6.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg), sophomore forward Omondi Amoke (5.8 ppg,
team-high 7.2 rpg), and 7-3, 240-pound sophomore center Max Zhang (4.5
ppg, 3.8 rpg).
KU coach Bill Self said Cal will be a tough test, especially with
Robertson back for his second straight game after injury.
"He led the country in three-point shooting last year," Self said on
his Hawk Talk radio show Monday night. "Cal, as a team, led the country
in three-point shooting last year. The three games they lost (this
season), they played without Theo. They would have a chance to be 8-1
probably. I like their personnel a lot. They can play small and play
Robertson at the four, which changes a few things in how your guard.
"Of course, they're coached by a guy (Montgomery) who's been as good as
just about any coach in our profession over the last 25 years. It
should be a fun game."
"It would be nice to beat a team that has a great opportunity to win
their league," Self added. "I'm excited about it, and I hope our fans
are excited about it. It would be a great way to start the Christmas
season with a good victory."
ABOUT COACH MONTGOMERY
Montgomery is 28-14 in his second season as Cal head coach. He's posted
a 575-258 record overall, including eight years at Montana and 18
seasons at Stanford. Montgomery, who also coached the Golden State Warriors from 2004-06, led teams to the Final Four (1998), four Pac-10
regular-season championships, one Pac-10 Tournament title, and one NIT
title (1991). He was named the Naismith Coach of the Year in 2000 and
is a four-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
MONTGOMERY ON KANSAS
Montgomery expects a huge battle against the 10-0 Jayhawks.
"We're going to have to be really good," Montgomery said. "They're very
big and they're very athletic. They go inside and they defend very
well. It'll be a tough job. When you're the No. 1 team in the country,
you've got a variety of ways that you attack people. You're generally
athletic, big and veteran. We can't just double Cole Aldrich and expect
that to be something that's going to allow us to win the game."
Montgomery is also very impressed with KU's 6-6 freshman swingman
"He's strong, aggressive and he can shoot the ball.," Montgomery said.
"He's a big wing player. He was a very highly-touted player coming into
the program. He's a double-figure scorer for them as a freshman. I
think part of that is because of the emphasis on their low-post game.
People have probably elected initially to double up or play off and try
to protect the inside, and he's taken advantage of that. I would guess
that might balance out as time goes on, but right now, for a freshman
to come in and average 18 points a game is pretty impressive."
KU leads the all-time series with Cal (dates back to 1929) at 14-3, and
have won the last eight meetings. KU's most recent win came on Dec. 10,
2005 in Kansas City, 69-56, while Cal last beat KU during the 1954-55
season (65-62) in K.C.
The Golden Bears last visited Allen Fieldhouse on Nov. 19, 1993 in the
preseason NIT second round, with Kansas winning 73-56 over a No. 6 Cal
team which featured stars Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray.
Richard Scott led KU with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Steve
Woodberry added 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Greg Ostertag also came up big with his first career double-double (13
points and a career-high 12 boards). The Big "O" also had four blocks.
Murray paced Cal with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Kidd scored 22
points (8-15 FG) and recorded six assists and three steals. He also
committed seven turnovers.
THIS & THAT
Kansas, one of eight undefeated teams in NCAA Division I, leads the Big
12 in scoring (88.8 ppg), scoring margin (+30.5), assists (19.3 apg),
blocked shots (7.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6).
Seven of KU's 10 wins this season have been by 25 or more points with
six of the victories by 30 points or more.
REMEMBERING JACQUE'S SHOT
This day marks the 26-year anniversary of one of the biggest shots in
Allen Fieldhouse history. On Dec. 22, 1993, KU freshman guard Jacque Vaughn rocked the Phog by swishing a three-pointer with 0.2 seconds
remaining in overtime against No. 12 Indiana, giving Kansas a thrilling
KU was 6-of-6 from the field in overtime. Richard Scott led the
Jayhawks with 23 points. The Jayhawks went 27-8 in 1993-94, and earned
a NCAA Sweet 16 berth.
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