The 2013-14 California men’s basketball schedule is nearly set in stone. Dates for home games against Nevada and Fresno State are still being worked out, but the teams Cal will do battle with have been finalized.
Aside from the 18 Pac-12 games, Cal will have ten non-conference games to go along with the Maui Invitational that highlights the 13 game non-conference schedule.
Always one of the most challenging and premier early season tournaments, the eight team field in Maui will feature the Chaminade — as always — California, Arkansas, Baylor, Dayton, Gonzaga, Minnesota, and Syracuse. The Golden Bears are guaranteed to play three games at the invitational.
In all, a total of eight teams who earned a bid to the 2013 NCAA Tournament appear on Cal’s schedule. Aside from what looks to be a challenging slate in Maui, the non-conference portion of Cal’s schedule isn’t overly difficult; games against Creighton and Denver will test Cal who will be playing without the services of Allen Crabbe.
Despite losing Crabbe to the NBA, Cal returns four starters, five of their top seven scorers, and their top-two rebounders from a team that reached the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament last year.
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.