KU today visits Cal’s campus in Berkeley for the first time since the 1956-57 season, when KU beat the Golden Bears, 66-56, behind 23 points from sophomore Wilt Chamberlain.
KU, which beat Cal, 84-69, last year at Allen Fieldhouse, leads the all-time series, 15-3.
“Kansas is Kansas. They’re really good,” Cal coach Mike Montgomery told the Oakland Tribune.
“It’s a great opportunity to play against Kansas,” Cal senior Markhuri Sanders-Frison said. “Everybody knows they’re a good team ... but they’re beatable.”
“It’s big, not only for our team, but our conference,” noted freshman guard Gary Franklin. “We have something to prove playing ranked teams.”
Montgomery goes for his 600th victory tonight. He is 599-270 overall — 52-26 in three seasons at Cal.
“If Mike hadn’t gone to the pros, he’d probably have won his 700th by now,” KU coach Bill Self said of Montgomery, who worked two years as head coach of the Golden State’s Warriors. “He’s one of the greats in our profession, just a really good guy, a really good coach. What he’s done ... he is an amazing guy, an amazing coach.”
Montgomery coached 18 years at Stanford, leading the Cardinal to the 1998 Final Four. He also worked eight years at Montana. He was named Naismith Coach of the Year in 2000 and is a four-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
“He’s been national coach of the year. The year they beat us (64-58 in 2003 in Anaheim) they were No. 1 or No. 2 in the country without Josh Childress being healthy,” Self said.
He was asked if Montgomery gets overlooked nationally sometimes.
“I think by coaches, he’s definitely respected. By maybe media and the people that read the media outlets, probably not as much in large part because he’s been on the West Coast instead of the East,” Self said.
Selby starting soon?
KU senior Brady Morningstar realizes he or senior Tyrel Reed could be coming off the bench as soon as tonight. Self has said freshman sensation Josh Selby will become a starter sooner rather than later.
“Coach is going to put him wherever coach feels he’s the most comfortable. Coach knows what is best for the team,” Morningstar said. “We’ve got to do what coach says, and it will work out.”
Self said, as of Tuesday night, he had not decided whether Selby would come off the bench for a second straight game or start.
KU visits Haas Pavilion for the first-annual Pete Newell Classic (one game a year will be dubbed the Newell Classic) as the highest-ranked nonconference opponent since 1958 when No. 3 Kansas State visited Berkeley. ... The Bears, who are 4-2 at home this season, have won 42 of their last 46 nonconference home games. Cal went 15-1 at home last year, the lone defeat coming in overtime against UCLA. Montgomery’s three Cal teams are 35-5 at home.
Self on Skype
A Christmas Eve Skype call from Self sold for $4,050 on eBay. The proceeds will go to his Assists Foundation.