Cal will be stern test
California enters tonight’s game with a 6-3 record. All of Cal’s losses have been to Top-25 teams: Syracuse (95-73), Ohio State (76-70) and New Mexico (86-78). The Bears have beaten Murray State (75-70), Detroit (95-61), Jacksonville (79-47), Princeton (81-60), Iowa State (82-63) and Pacific (79-54).
“This is the best team we’ve played so far,” Kansas University coach Bill Self said. “They could easily win the Pac-10.”
Jerome Randle, a 5-foot-10, 172-pound senior point guard from Chicago, averages 19.6 points and 5.1 assists.
“He’s somebody I played against in high school,” KU senior Sherron Collins said. Collins attended Crane High; Randle attended Hales Franciscan.
“We played on the same AAU team a little bit. We beat ’em in high school so right now I’ve got one on him. This is for a little bragging rights.”
Cal has made 61 of 160 threes for 38.1 percent. The Bears led the country in three-point percentage last year at 42.7 percent. Randle has made 23 of 59 (39.0 percent), senior guard Patrick Christopher 17 of 49 (34.7), sophomore guard Jorge Gutierrez 10 of 17 (58.8) and senior forward Theo Robertson, who is back from injury, four of seven.
“They are a very good shooting team,” Collins said. “It’ll be a tough challenge.”
KU’s Self and staff member Barry Hinson attended a memorial service for Oral Roberts on Monday afternoon in Tulsa, Okla. Self and Hinson both served as head basketball coaches at Oral Roberts University.
“He was very respected, controversial and all those things, but I absolutely loved being around him. He had the biggest presence of anybody I’ve ever met with the exception of maybe Bill Clinton,” Self said. “He had an unbelievable way with people. What a great way to celebrate a life of somebody who has given so much to so many.”
California coach Mike Montgomery
• On playing No. 1 KU: “You’re on the road against a good team. I think rankings this time of year are erroneous a little but. But there’s no question they’re a high-quality team with very good personnel, tremendous tradition, tough place to play.”
• On Cole Aldrich: “They go to him. He is very big. He’s got great hands, and they use him. They play a lot of high-low basketball with their wings spaced very well. It makes it effective.”
• On Xavier Henry: “To come into a program like Kansas and start … he’s strong, he’s aggressive, he can shoot the ball. He's a big wing player. He was very highly touted coming into the program, and he must be plenty good.”
• On coaching vs. KU: ”I'm looking forward to it. I’ve played Kansas before but never in Phog Allen.”
Cal is 3-14 all-time vs. KU and has not beaten the Jayhawks since a 65-62 win in Kansas City on Dec. 29, 1954. ... Cal has dropped its past three matchups with No. 1 teams, losing twice to Arizona during the 2002-03 season and once to Stanford (then coached by Montgomery) during the 2000-01 season. ... Cal’s record against No. 1 ranked teams, dating to 1950, is 2-23. That includes 1-18 against UCLA. Cal beat UCLA, 85-70, on Jan. 30, 1994 and Cincinnati, 77-69, on March 17, 1960.