2007 California Golden Bears Basketball Preview
The Golden Bears from California (16- 17 overall, 6- 12 Pac-10), a team that was hampered by numerous injuries last season, tied for eighth in the conference. The team of coach Ben Braun (202- 138 in 11 years with California and 535- 373 in 30 years) was not invited to the NCAA tournament and will be missed in our NCAA basketball picks. They had participated the year before when they won 20 games.
From the foul line, this club was tops in its conference, shooting .769 from the charity stripe. They also proved to be skilled ball handlers, turning the ball over only 11.7 TPG, which ranked them second in the Pac- 10. However, big problems in both scoring and scoring defense hampered the club as the Bears finished seventh in both categories, knocking in only 69.5 PPG and allowing 69.1 PPG.
Senior center DeVon Hardin (10.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 49.4 FG%), who could have been a round-one NBA pick this season, decided to come back for a final year. That’s great news for college basketball betting and the Golden Bears. Forward Ryan Anderson (16.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 47.6 FG%), who was fine in his frosh season, is a solid perimeter shooter who can play the boards. Look for junior Theo Robertson (8.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 45.1 FG%) to be the starting small forward. That is if he can come back on time from hip surgery.
Unfortunately for the Golden Bears and college basketball lines, guards Ayine Ubake (13.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.3 APG) and Omar Wilkes (9.9 PPG, 1.6 APG) are both gone. Ubake was a massive scorer. The backcourt may be occupied by two sophomores—Jerome Randle (6.5 PPG, 2.8 APG) and Patrick Christopher (5.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 46.4 FG%). Point guard Randle, who must mature in terms of decision-making, is one of the fastest players in the Pac-10. At shooting guard, Christopher has the potential to become a point machine.
Here’s the skinny— when you bet on college basketball, this team is improved by the mere fact that they are healthy and have a whole lot of experienced players back. But the California Golden Bears are in a conference that has improved greatly. They’ll have to show that they’re sound at both guard positions and work hard to finish in the money.