The Cal basketball team will be playing in the postseason, after all. After falling to NCAA Tournament-bound USC in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament, on Sunday, the Bears were named to the field of the National Invitational Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
Cal's bracket includes No. 1-seed Colorado, No. 2-seed St. Mary's, No. 3-seed Colorado State, No. 5-seed Ole Miss, No. 6-seed Fairfield, No. 7-seed Kent State and No. 8-seed Texas Southern.
The Bears (17-14) will host the Rebels on Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion, with tipoff scheduled for 6 PM. Should Cal advance, the Bears would likely take on the Buffaloes in Boulder, Colo.
"I think the guys were excited," said head coach Mike Montgomery. "I think they see SC make the NCAA Tournament and they're thinking what might have been, but I think they were excited about it. You look at the field, and it's very strong. The NIT has really changed over the years. It's pretty legit, now, with 14 Division I conference champions in there. You look at the teams that didn't make the (NCAA) Tournament, and you kind of go, 'Woah.'"
One of those teams would be the Gaels, who after a 25-8 regular season were left out of the Big Dance.
"You look at Virginia Tech, and I'm sure St. Mary's is just sick," Montgomery said. "It's a good tournament field, and certainly a great challenge for us. It's something we're really looking forward to."
At the moment, the team is in the process of gathering scouting information on Ole Miss, but Montgomery has seen one player in particular stand out: 5-foot-10, 168-pound senior guard Chris Warren.