The Pac-12 men's basketball preseason media poll was announced on Friday, and the California Golden Bears have been picked to finish 2nd, and the Stanford Cardinal 6th.
In 2009-2010, Mike Montgomery's second season at Cal, the Bears were the preseason pick to win the league. They backed it up by winning the school's first conference title since 1960.
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The Bears are led by the trio of Jorge Gutierrez, Harper Kamp, and Allen Crabbe. Of the 10 players named to the All-Conference team last season, Gutierrez is one of two players who returned to school. The other is UCLA's Reeves Nelson.
"I like our basketball team," Montgomery said at Pac-12 Media Day Friday morning. "We're not too worried about what anybody else thinks about us. I think we've got to stay healthy. We've got to develop some depth, and we've got to have our key people perform, which I don't think is unusual that anybody would say anything differently."
Stanford's sixth-place projection is the highest since 2007-2008 when it was tabbed 5th. Led by Brook and Robin Lopez, the Cardinal exceeded expectations, finished 2nd behind UCLA, and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
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Stanford will be paced by Josh Owens, Anthony Brown, and Dwight Powell. Jeremy Green, an All-Conference selection last year, elected to forego his senior season and enter the NBA Draft. He went undrafted.
"We are very excited about the season. I thought our kids have done a great job this preseason of working hard to get better. I thought it started last spring and continued through the summer and through our trip to Spain, in which our team got closer."
Both the Cal and Stanford Basketball Preview shows will air on CSNBayArea in early November.
In addition, CSNBayArea.com will release the Stanford Basketball 2011-2012 Preview on Thursday, November 10, and the Cal Basketball 2011-2012 Preview on Friday, November 11.