Cal Basketball: Bears' Road Woes in Conference Games Among Nation's Most Extreme

Cal Has Won Just 4 Pac-12 Road Games Over the Past 4 Seasons
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Here is the extent of the good news regarding Cal basketball’s gruesome road record:

The Bears don’t play another road game until next season.

They do leave town once more — for the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas, beginning on Wednesday, March 10 at T-Mobile Arena. Those are regarded as neutral-site games.

And the Bears should have a good feeling when they return to Sin City. A year ago they beat rival Stanford in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament before the event was shut down by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before heading to the desert, Cal (8-17, 3-13 Pac-12) closes the regular season with home games this week against Oregon State on Thursday and Oregon on Saturday. They are expected to have next week off to prepare for the Pac-12 tournament.

The 2020-21 season, with all of its challenges unique to the coronavirus, has not provided the least bit of relief for Cal on the road.

The Bears are 6-6 at Haas Pavilion and they won their only neutral-site game, but they are 1-11 on their opponent’s floor.

In fact, Cal has claimed precisely one road victory in Pac-12 play in each of the past four seasons for a composite record of 4-33. Former coach Wyking Jones was responsible for the first two of those four years, but Mark Fox has yet to figure out how to reverse the disturbing trend.

The Bears’ only Pac-12 road win this season was a 72-63 victory at Utah on Jan. 16, when Cal actually played without top scorer Matt Bradley.

Three of the losses — at Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford — came by single-digit margins. Four others were by more than 20 points, including a 31-point drubbing at Washington State. On Saturday, Cal lost by 11 at Washington, whom the Bears had beaten in Berkeley earlier this season.

Fox has said more than once that the Bears’ defensive shortcoming prevent them from getting over the hump on the road, but in Washington last week they scored just 51 points in back-to-back games.

The Bears’ average margin of defeat in conference road games this season was 16.0 points. The numbers over the previous three seasons — 20.8, 15.8, 18.4 — are hardly any encouraging signs.

Nationally, two Power 5 programs have worse home records in conference play than the Bears .108 winning percentage.

Pittsburgh of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Vanderbilt of the Southeastern Conference both are 3-30 in conference road games dating back to the start of the 2017-18 campaign, which shakes out at .091.

Pitt still has two more road games in ACC play and Vandy has one in the SEC, so each has a chance to improve its record. Or make it worse.

Below are the home conference records of every Pac-12 school over the past four seasons. (In some cases teams still have one or more remaining road games this season).

Not surprisingly, no team has a winning record in Pac-12 road gams over the past four seasons, with Arizona atop the list at exactly .500. Below that are the 10 worst home records of teams from Power 5 conferences:

PAC-12 CONFERENCE ROAD RECORDS

1. Arizona

2020-21: 5-4

2019-20: 4-5

2018-19: 3-6

2017-18: 6-3

Totals: 18-18 (.500)

2. USC

2020-21: 6-1

2019-20: 3-6

2018-19: 2-7

2017-18: 5-4

Totals: 16-18 (.471)

4. Oregon

2020-21: 4-1

2019-20: 4-5

2018-19: 4-5

2017-18: 3-6

Totals: 15-17 (.469)

4. UCLA

2020-21: 4-3 

2019-20: 5-4

2018-19: 3-6

2017-18: 3-6

Totals: 15-19 (.441)

5. Utah

2020-21: 4-6

2019-20: 0-9

2018-19: 6-3

2017-18: 5-3

Totals: 15-21 (.417)

6. Washington

2020-21: 1-6

2019-20: 2-7

2018-19: 7-2

2017-18: 4-5

Totals: 14-20 (.412)

7. Arizona State

2020-21: 1-4

2019-20: 4-5

2018-19: 5-4

2017-18: 3-6

Totals: 13-19 (.406)

8. Stanford

2020-21: 4-5

2019-20: 3-6

2018-19: 3-6

2017-18: 4-5

Totals: 14-22 (.389)

9. Colorado

2020-21: 5-5

2019-20: 3-6

2018-19: 3-6

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 12-25 (.324)

10. Oregon State

2020-21: 1-6

2019-20: 2-7

2018-19: 5-4

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 9-25 (.265)

11. Washington State

2020-21: 3-5

2019-20: 1-8

2018-19: 2-7

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 7-28 (.200)

12. Cal

2020-21: 1-9

2019-20: 1-8

2018-19: 1-8

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 4-33 (.108)

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10 WORST OF THE POWER 5 SCHOOLS

Pittsburgh (ACC)

2020-21: 2-3

2019-20: 1-9

2018-19: 0-9

2017-18: 0-9

Totals: 3-30 (.091)

Vanderbilt (SEC)

2020-21: 1-5

2019-20: 1-8

2018-19: 0-9

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 3-30 (.091)

Cal (Pac-12)

2020-21: 1-9

2019-20: 1-8

2018-19: 1-8

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 4-33 (.108)

Wake Forest (ACC)

2020-21: 1-7

2019-20: 1-8

2018-19: 1-8

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 4-31 (.114)

Iowa State (Big 12)

2020-21: 0-6

2019-20: 0-9

2018-19: 4-5

2017-18: 0-9

Totals: 4-29 (.121)

Minnesota (Big Ten)

2020-21: 0-9

2019-20: 2-8

2018-19: 2-8

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 5-33 (.132)

Northwestern (Big Ten)

2020-21: 1-8

2019-20: 1-9

2018-19: 1-9

2017-18: 2-7

Totals: 5-33 (.132)

Nebraska (Big Ten)

2020-21: 1-6

2019-20: 0-10

2018-19: 1-9

2017-18: 4-5

Totals: 6-30 (.167)

Georgia (SEC)

2020-21: 2-6

2019-20: 1-8

2018-19: 1-8

2017-18: 2-7

Totals: 6-29 (.171)

Boston College (ACC)

2020-21: 0-4

2019-20: 3-7

2018-19: 2-8

2017-18: 1-8

Totals: 6-27 (.182)