NCAA

Is Cal-Stanford destined for a revived rivalry?

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Is Cal-Stanford destined for a revived rivalry?

Somebody tell Jorge Gutierrez that a rivalry is about to be born. Again.You might recall the Cal guard opining after the Bears' win over Stanford on January 29th that he didn't think this was a rivalry because, "Whoever is on top is our rival." I'm guessing the Cardinal gleaned some motivation from that last Sunday, when they beat Cal at Maples and denied the Bears a regular-season conference title.Now, it's the Bears who will be motivated by revenge when the two rivals - yes Jorge, it's true - meet for a third time this season on Thursday. Cal will also be playing to secure its status as an NCAA tournament team. Personally I think the Bears are in regardless, but losing three straight to end the season is not the best way to announce your presence with authority to the selection committee.Expect an all-out war at Staples.PAC-12 Tournament notes:
Stanford is supremely confident right now, having won three of the last four in impressive fashion. Perhaps nobody is feelings it more than Chasson Randle, whose 27 points in the first half against ASU were a tournament record for points in a half. Randle finished with a career-high 30.At the other end of the confidence spectrum is Josh Owens. The fifth-year senior - and all conference performer - has scored a total of six points in the last two games. He's committed eight fouls during that stretch.Former Stanford coach - and current Cal coach - Mike Montgomery looked awfully calm as he sat courtside during Wednesday's game, enjoying a tub of popcorn. I am guessing Monty will be substantially less calm before tipoff.The crowd at Staples was modest at best, even for the battle of hometown teams! UCLA and USC. The crowd at the MGM Grand will likely be much more impressive next season, if the tournament moves to Vegas as expected. That topic has been by far the most buzzworthy this week.One team nobody seems to want a part of right now: Oregon. The Ducks have won four straight and six of seven, and with an RPI of 51 might well be one win away from an at-large NCAA bid. And for what it's worth, they pass the eyeball test.

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

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AP

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

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USATSI

The future of Cal athletics, or lack thereof

Your education dollars are always at work, so it is with pride and bewilderment that we report that the University of California’s incoming class (2021, for those few who can get out in four years) marched to Memorial Stadium and formed the world’s largest human letter.
 
It was . . . wait for it . . . a “C.” A 7,196-person-strong “C.”
 
But the school, as it occasionally does, missed a golden opportunity to seize a golden opportunity. All they needed to do was have a quick whip-round, get $55,586.44 from each and every one of the captives . . . er, students, and they could have wiped out their entire athletics deficit in one night.
 
You see, while forming gigantic letters is always fun (or as the kids used to say when double negatives didn’t mean voting, never not fun), Cal is staring at quite possibly the bleakest future a major athletic university ever has. The athletic department, whose chief officer, Mike Williams, has just announced his intention to quit, is over $400 million in debt between construction costs, ambition, shrinking allegiance and the absence of a Phil Knight-level sugar daddy to buy the pain away.
 
And before you blame Williams, he inherited this indigestible planetoid from his predecessor, Sandy Barbour, who grew it from her predecessor, Steve Gladstone, and hastened it from . . . well, you get the drift. 
 
Cal’s been blowing through money it hasn’t been taking in for years upon years, didn’t realize the deficit-cutting benefits of the Pac-12 Network (because they largely don’t exist), and the day of reckoning looms closer and closer, especially now that new chancellor Carol Christ (no apparent relation) described the deficit as “corrosive” and has insisted that the athletic department have a balanced budget by 2020.
 
In short, the school may only be able to afford a lower-case “C” before too long. Maybe in comic sans.