The California basketball team will square off against the alma mater of assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb in the opening round of the 2012 Anaheim Classic, facing Drake at 8:30 PM Pacific on Nov. 22, it was announced on Thursday.
Drake returns four starters from a team that completed the 2011-12 season 18-16 overall, splitting its 18 games in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs dropped a 74-68 decision to Rice in the second round of the CIT postseason tournament in March.
The bracket for the 2012 Anaheim Classic -- held Thanksgiving weekend, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Nov. 22, 23 & 25, at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center, adjacent to Disneyland -- has been confirmed for the eight teams competing: the Bears, Drake, Drexel, Georgia Tech, Pacific, Rice, Saint Mary's and Xavier.
ESPNU will carry six of the tournament games, while ESPN2 will air five, including the Championship Game on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 9 p.m. ET. ESPN3 will have the one remaining game and the entire tournament will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com and through smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
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ESPNU will air first-round action between Pacific vs. Xavier at 2 p.m. and Rice vs. Georgia Tech at 9 p.m.
ESPN2 will carry the additional first-round games featuring Drexel vs. Saint Mary's at 4:30 p.m. and Drake vs. Cal at 11:30 p.m.
Six of the eight teams advanced to 2012 postseason play, including Cal, Saint Mary's and Xavier in the NCAA Championship.
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The 2012 Anaheim Classic will feature 12 games through three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated will face off in a championship game Sunday, Nov. 25. The Big West will again serve as the event's hosting conference.
The inaugural Anaheim Classic was played in 2007 and was won by USC. In the following years, Wake Forest (2008), West Virginia (2009), UNLV (2010), and Saint Louis (2011), were all tournament winners. Each champion has gone on to qualify for that year's NCAA Tournament.
In Cal's sole preseason tournament of 2011-12, the Bears advanced to the championship game of the Progressive College Basketball Experience (CBE) Classic by defeating George Washington, Austin Peay and Georgia before falling to Missouri in the championship game.
Cal tied for second in the Pac-12's inaugural season with a 13-5 record in league games. In each of head coach Mike Montgomery's four years in Berkeley, the Bears have finished among the top four in the conference and advanced to play in the postseason; three times to the NCAA Tournament.
Cal will be led by last season's leading scorer and rebounder, junior guard Allen Crabbe, who, despite struggling with a lower-abdominal injury during the latter half of the season, was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference first team after averaging 15.2 points per game. Junior guard Justin Cobbs -- who played in the Anaheim Classic while still with Minnesota -- was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention last season, and finished second in the conference with 5.1 assists per game.
Sophomore forward David Kravish notched 41 blocked shots; eighth most in a single season at Cal, en route to being named to the five-man Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.