Bay Area Sports Beat: What You Need to Know Right Now


Cal’s dance wasn’t quite of the shut-the-club-down variety, but it at least its dance went on longer than a slow dance between awkward junior high kids.

The Cal men’s basketball team, seeded No. 12 in the NCAA Tournament, upset No. 5 UNLV 64-61 (and avenged a one-point loss earlier in the season in the process) as a mild surprise to most in the first round.  

The Bears would “dance” for another day, but couldn’t capitalize against a sloppy No. 4 Syracuse team on Saturday, as the traditional Big East powerhouse ousted Cal 66-60 to prevent the Bears from a trip to the Sweet 16.

In Thursday’s first round, Cal (21-12) rode star Allen Crabbe (19 points, nine rebounds) and stifled the Runnin’ Rebels with a zone defense, holding them without a field goal for an eleven-minute stretch. The Bears were also helped by local support, as they played near their Berkeley campus at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

On Saturday, both Syracuse and Cal struggled against each other’s zone defense, but Syracuse was able to stifle Pac-12 Player of the Year, Crabbe, holding him to just eight points. And as Crabbe goes, Cal goes.

“They keyed in on me,” Crabbe told The Associated Press. “I mean, the shots that I thought I would probably get weren’t there. They took things away from me.”

The dream’s over for Cal, but it still has a memorable win over UNLV to hang its proverbial hat on.

And at least the world found out that these bros support Cal…for better or worse.

Last call pushed back for the women

The “Big Dance” isn’t completely over in the Bay Area. Unexpectedly, both Stanford and Cal’s women’s teams are rolling in their respective early-round games. But the only upsets are simply the locals avoiding them, as top-seeded Stanford and second-seeded Cal are expected to make deep runs in the tournament.

Stanford defeated Tulsa 72-56 and Cal dumped Fresno State, 90-76. The Bears face No. 10 South Florida today and the Cardinal face No. 8 Michigan on Tuesday.

If all goes according to the plan, the two could potentially match up in a rivalry game of the ages with a trip to the Final Four on the line since both teams are in the Spokane Region.

The man himself, Barack Obama, even predicted they’d be on a collision course in his annual “Baracketology” segment with the Bears upending the higher-seeded Cardinal.

In El Presidente we trust…

The most watched elbow in San Francisco

With two World Series triumphs in the past three seasons, life has been good for the Giants.

With the majority of last season’s team largely still intact, the main concern for the Giants is their health. The latest is the troubling right elbow of World Series MVP and the city’s favorite “panda,” Pablo Sandoval.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman, there haven’t been any fearful setbacks, but it looks unlikely that Sandoval will be back in action by Opening Day.

And in other intangible, let’s-all-hope-that-it-gets-better news, Tim Lincecum is still struggling. After far and away his worst season since his big-league debut, Lincecum is hardly inspiring much confidence based on his spring training performance.

Lincecum’s spring earned run average has bloated to 10.97 after he failed to make it out of the fourth inning on Saturday.

Then again, it’s only spring. If anyone can completely surprise and befuddle, one would think someone nicknamed “The Freak” would be to the one to do it.

Again, back to that “hope” thing… 

Twitter dance parties aren't limited to March: @seanswaby

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