The Golden Bears got sent home quickly from the Pac-10 tournament, but they don't for a minute believe their season is over.
"I would think we'd be a very strong NIT team," coach Mike Montgomery said after Cal's 70-56 loss to USC in the tournament quarterfinals on Thursday. "We've had one hell of a year, given the circumstances. If the NIT comes along, we want jump on that as a springboard."
"We don't want the season to be over now," agreed freshman Allen Crabbe, who led the Bears (17-14) with 21 points.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak for Cal, which played one of the nation's most difficult non-conference schedules, including games against Kansas, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Temple and Boston College.
Cal finished in a tie with USC for fourth place, going 10-8 in Pac-10 play after losing four senior starters from last year's conference championship team. The Bears entered play Thursday with an RPI computer ranking of No. 65.
Asked after the USC loss what kind of team the Bears could be a year from now, junior guard Jorge Gutierrez said, "We're not done with this season yet. We've got a game next week, and we've got to focus on that game."
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