A win tonight against the USC Trojans would probably guarantee Cal an invite to March Madness. But the Golden Bears have to be thinking bigger -- with four games left, they have a great shot at winning the PAC-10.
Not bad for a team that was supposed to finish in eighth place.
If nothing else, a win tonight at Haas Pavilion does assure Cal of a winning PAC-10 record and at least a 21-win season overall.
Most years, that's plenty good enough to make the NCAA Tournament.
And they get a USC team that is in a state of flailing. The 16-10 Trojans have lost four of their last five, and appear to be at each others throats having altercations both on and off the court.
Tamper your elation by remembering that Cal blew an easy one under similar circumstances last Saturday -- losing 65-54 to the beatable Oregon State Beavers. Cal scoring superstar Jerome Randle had only 3 points, the worst game of his career.
The Bears would have taken a share of first place in the PAC-10 by winning that cream puff game, but they didn't. Yet they still have the same overall record as heavy-favorite UCLA, so the Bears have to feel pretty golden about that.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who'd be lucky to finish in eight place.