Monday, February 26, 2007


* If you read a certain message board, you'll notice two things about Cal basketball fans. One, there ain't many of them. Two, it is a given that every thread will eventually devolve into a Ben should stay/Ben must go debate. We'll tackle that question in depth later, but for now a couple of things come to mind:

* Some seem to want to give Braun a medal for getting the team to play hard. Sorry, that's competent coaching - not good coaching. And we deserve better than competent coaching.

* What in the wide world of sports was Cal doing on defense Saturday? The Bears came out in the worst zone I've ever seen. The Trojans didn't recognize it until their third (I think) possession. They didn't even need to run a cutter to the free throw line; their bigs just sauntered into the lane and caught easy entry passes eight feet from the basket. I guess my point here is that zone defense isn't rocket science, but the Bears still haven't figured out how to play it after 28 games.

* DeVon Hardin may come back for the Pac-10 tournament. Not sure this is such a good idea, given where Cal stands and the fact that stress fractures are touchy injuries.

* Enough of that loss. Elsewhere, things ran according to form over the weekend. The Wildcats were fortunate to beat ASU, who could be a handful next year. Ryan Appleby hasn't forgiven Aaron Brooks. UCLA is perfect at home for the first time since 74-75. And Stanford needs at least a split this week to get its ticket punched for the tournament.


At 2:52 PM, Anonymous SoCal Oski said...

Well, if you read a certain message board you'll notice that personally, I am on the fence about BB, but am beginning to lean more toward cutting him loose.

On the one hand, he's shown he can achieve results with a stocked team as the several 2nd place conference finishes and an NIT crown indicate. However, it seems no matter how much talent he has, he can't translate it into a conference crown or anything beyond one-win in the tourney.

Much to BB's bad luck, it seems every 2nd or third year is fraught with player defections or critical injuries. But, it seems that after a while, bad luck isn't an excuse any longer.

Still ... it is hard to justify cutting him loose after a season where he's got a short-handed team.

I'm interested in hearing your take.

Go Bears

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous mensa memeber said...

you should keep him. is there anyone out there better than him at the moment. what you want that oilslick former coach of fucla? or how about the former fucla national champion coaching at bakersfield junoir ball. montgomery not. tark maybe i dought that a school with so much class would stoop to that level.

At 11:46 PM, Blogger Eli said...

I think I've said this about 96 times, but I am in San Diego so I couldn't watch either of the games in LA (wish I got FSN 2/Prime Ticket on my cable package). Looking at the boxes, again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where Cal has been so horrible this season: UCLA only outrebounded them by 3, but USC got them by 10. While the Bruins' rebounding edge was slim, it turned out not to matter, as they shot over 60 percent from the floor. And the Trojans shot over 50 percent. You simply won't win games with that kind of defensive output.

As for the inevitable topic of discussion, I remain firm in believing he gets another chance. The Bears should split this weekend and finish either at .500 or one game below, which will not have much bearing for next year. Playing hard may only be a demonstration of competent coaching, but at least these guys haven't given up. Ubaka can complain all he wants, but last time I checked he is the senior and is supposed to be carrying along the younger guys--especially the bigs--during the stretch run. Sure, he had a right to question the offensive strategy against Wazzu, but he has to come to grips with the fact that he will not be going out in a blaze of glory at Cal and he has to keep his head up. This is not a bad program, it's just going through a lull. It's tough to break out of that lull without any inside presence or much experience, but if everyone's healthy next year, there won't be any excuses. That's when the even more detailed evaluation of Braun should be conducted.

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