Cal Basketball

Bears Picked Last in Preseason Media Poll

October 8, 2019

Ahead of the men’s portion of the Pac-12 hoops media day, the conference released its media preseason poll. To really no one’s surprise, the Bears finished last, receiving just 35 votes. Oregon topped the ranking with 291 votes, edging out Colorado, which received 288 votes. Washington rounded out the top three with 273 votes.

Cal fans shouldn’t be surprised or offended by the placement as the Bears have a new coach and six players that have never played in a Cal uniform. Combine that with the fact the Bears have combined for 5-31 in Pac-12 play over the past two seasons and the ranking makes sense.

While the media poll placed the Bears at the back of the pack again, computer models have been a bit more kind to Cal’s preseason hopes. The 2020 Torvik Projections currently put Cal finishing 10th in the conference with a projected 12-18 (6-12 Pac-12) record. Torvik places both Utah and Washington State behind the Bears. The media put Wazzu ahead of the Bears by 12 votes and Utah in ninth place earning 131 points.

Torvik Projections:

  1. Oregon, 22-7 (13-5)
  2. Arizona, 21-8 (12-6)
  3. Colorado, 20-9 (12-6)
  4. Arizona State, 19-11 (10-8)
  5. Washington, 19-10 (11-7)
  6. Oregon State, 17-12 (9-9)
  7. USC, 18-11 (9-9)
  8. UCLA, 16-13 (8-10)
  9. Stanford, 16-14 (7-11)
  10. California, 12-18 (6-12)
  11. Utah, 10-18 (5-13)
  12. Washington State, 11-18 (4-14)

The two teams at the top of the media poll — Oregon and Colorado — have taken very different approaches to their projected finishes. Oregon will rely on a slew of newcomers including national JUCO player of the year Chris Duarte, grad transfer from New Mexico Anthony Mathis, and UNLV transfer Shakur Juiston. The Ducks will also need immediate contributions from a top-five recruiting class featuring blue-chippers N’Faly Dante and CJ Walker, among others.

Colorado, by contrast, features a core of upperclassmen that have been with the program for years. The Buffs return virtually everyone from last year’s team which finished fourth in the conference with a 10-8 record and made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT before losing to eventual NIT champions, the Texas Longhorns. With only one top-100 recruit (D’Shawn Schwartz) since 2015, Colorado has built a solid program with four-year players and consistency. 

The Bears officially begin the season on Tuesday, November 5 against Pepperdine. Conference play begins for the Bears on January 2 at Stanford.

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