HALFWAY HOMESo we're at the halfway mark of the Pac-10 conference season and Cal has won one more game than we thought they would win at the beginning of conference play:
Losses: @ Arizona, WSU, @ Oregon, UCLA, USC
We thought they'd get the Trojans at home and lose to the Huskies; they of course reversed that. We didn't think they'd win at Maples, but right now we don't think the Bears will win the return engagement at Haas. So it's up to expectations thus far, in one sense. In another sense, of course, this season is nothing like what we expected. The Bears have two healthy players taller than 6'5", and Alex Pribble is now a critical part of their rotation. A make-or-break year for Coach Braun has turned into an injury-riddled mulligan, and Cal fans have a hard time getting a fix on this team's chances. Not that we won't try.
So what are reasonable expectations for the remainder of the season? We thought of this question when considering where we'd IPO the Bears on ProTrade. ProTrade is a sort of stock market for pro and college sports; a twist on the traditional fantasy games that have never been our brand of vodka. They've asked us to set the market rate for the Bears - the rate being based on how many wins they'll have at season's end.
We think it's probably time to tamp down those long shot NCAA hopes. The Bears sit at 12-9 and 4-5 in conference. The very best we can hope for in the second half is 5-4, which would sit us at 17-13 and 9-9 with a Pac-10 tournament game or two to go. That's maybe good enough to get in with a couple of Staples wins, but remember this team lost to USD at home. On the downside, there's a very real chance that this team could fail to qualify for the NIT, given that they will be favored in only two games down the stretch. We think 4-5 is the record Bear fans should shoot for in the season's final five weeks:
Losses: Stanford, @ UW, @ WSU, @ UCLA, Arizona
Can the Bears pull off four wins (with at least two upsets) down the stretch? If so, they'll come to Staples at 16-14 with a very good shot at the NIT. So let's set the Bears' IPO price at 16 wins. Any other thoughts?