Monday, January 25, 2010

Slap Hitter: Cal Rules the Roost

By Kibby Kleiman
Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 1:47 PM

This isn't one of those tricky, gotcha kind of headlines—but for all the publicity that Cal men's basketball has received (none), you would have every right to be suspicious that this was going to be a gimmick. But, it's for real. The Golden Bears are in fact, in first place in the Pac-10. Granted the Pac-10 is terrible; no teams ranked in the top thirty, and that the difference between first and last place in the league is the difference between slim and none, but with 40% of league play completed, the Cal men are the best of their peers, and that's got to be worth a strange but true header.

The fact is that this accomplishment has happened in the shadows. The East Bay loves basketball and has had to enjoy it in unrequited fashion for most of the last three decades. Wouldn't you think that success would result in some flag waving or paper rattling?

The Bears have a nice mix of players; a handful of senior stars, a blend of big and small, the ability to win a shootout or a slugfest, and a deep bench that produces different heroes each night. The next two weekends will see Cal traveling. First game Thursday is against Arizona State, the second place team in the Pac. The following weekend sees Cal go to Los Angeles where they can revenge themselves on a decidedly subpar UCLA team, who's only quality victory of the season was an upset victory in Berkeley.

I suppose that Cal lacks a "hook" to grab the limited media left to cover such things, but that isn't much of an excuse for the lack of klaxon and fireworks that should accompany the accomplishment. We've been the city of losers for a couple of years now, isn't being top dog in season worth climbing above the fold (or at least above the Raiders)?

This isn't Cal leading the Pac in some minor sport that only they play, this is Division I, big revenue rolling. Seriously, what else is happening locally right now? The 49ers not moving to Santa Clara, the A's not moving to San Jose and the Warriors not moving from fifth place. Seems to me that the names Theo Robertson and Jerome Randle should be seriously in play. Don't know them? Seems like our local scribes who are paid to know such things, either don't know or don't care. You're better than that East BayAreans. And so is your local college basketball team.

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