BERKELEY, Calif. — Given the Pac-12 Conference's rotating schedule, the Colorado men's basketball team didn't visit Cal last year.
On one hand, that might have been a missed opportunity for the youthful Buffaloes, who didn't get a second game against a Golden Bears squad that finished 8-24 overall and 2-16 in the league. Then again, given the Buffs' sordid history at Haas Pavilion since joining the Pac-12, it likely was best the Buffs skipped the trip to Berkeley.
On Thursday night (9 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Mountain) the Buffs will try to correct an 0-5 mark at Haas since becoming a league rival of the Bears. CU is just 1-12 all-time against Cal on the road, and here is a game-by-game look at how things have gone awry for the Buffs in Berkeley during the Pac-12 era.
Feb. 5, 2017 (Cal 77-66): It was Super Bowl Sunday, but before Tom Brady rallied the Patriots past Atlanta, seniors Xavier Johnson and Wes Gordon were thwarting their team's already-thin NCAA Tournament chances by getting suspended for a very winnable road game due to a violation of team rules. Derrick White scored 25 points for the Buffs, but it wasn't enough to overcome a 6-for-21 mark on 3-pointers or a 40-32 rebounding advantage for the Bears. Cal recorded 16 offensive rebounds that turned into 24 second-chance points.
Jan. 1, 2016 (Cal 79-65): The Buffs eventually made the NCAA Tournament two months later, but it was a forgettable Pac-12 opener in Berkeley. CU shot just .318 (21-for-66) while Cal's Jaylen Brown posted 17 points and 11 rebounds.
March 8, 2014 (Cal 66-65, OT): Trying to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive without injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie, the Buffs suffered a loss that kept them out of the league's top four, and the accompanying first-round bye, the following week at the Pac-12 tournament. CU had an opportunity to win at the buzzer, but Xavier Talton's 3-point attempt was off the mark. The Buffs got a small measure of revenge a week later by topping the Bears in the Pac-12 quarterfinals.
March 2, 2013 (Cal 62-46): The Buffs shot a woeful .231 from the floor (15-for-65). Take away a sub-par but still manageable 6-for-21 mark on 3-pointers, and the Buffs shot just .205 (9-for-44) on conventional 2-pointers. CU committed just six turnovers but was outrebounded 46-36.
Jan. 12, 2012 (Cal 57-50): A 3-poiner from Austin Dufault got the Buffs within 51-50 with 65 seconds remaining, but some still-familiar shortcoming doomed CU down the stretch. Cal got a layup after a CU turnover, and after the Bears converted one free throw they got the offensive rebound off a missed second attempt. It was a big night for Dufault (19 points) and Andre Roberson (11 points, 14 rebounds), and the Buffs bounced back to defeat Cal at home and during their subsequent run to the conference tournament championship.
On Wednesday night, a true freshman helped lift Oklahoma to a solid 70-61 road win at rival Oklahoma State.
Why, exactly, has that nugget of info found its way into a CU basketball notes package? Because the freshman in question was Jamal Bieniemy, the nephew of former standout CU running back Eric Bieniemy.
Jamal Bieniemy entered Wednesday's game averaging just 3.9 points per game, though he had also registered 50 assists against just 15 turnovers through 18 games. He turned in an almost-perfect stat line against the Cowboys on Wednesday, going 6-for-6 from the floor and 2-for-2 at the free throw line before finishing with 17 points, three rebounds, three steals, and no turnovers in 34 minutes.
CU guard Shane Gatling has weathered a wild rollercoaster in recent games. After hitting a season-best five 3-pointers in a win against Washington State, Gatling went 1-for-10 (1-for-6 on threes) against Washington. He started 0-for-10 at Utah on Sunday but went 6-for-8 the rest of the way...Following Saturday's game at Stanford (6 p.m. MT, FS1), the Buffs will play seven of their final 11 regular-season games at home...The Pac-12 announced it is launching two podcasts — "Inside Pac-12 Men's Basketball" and "Inside Pac-12 Women's Basketball." New editions of the weekly episodes will be available each Monday on platforms like Spotify and iTunes, and the men's basketball podcast also will air weekly on SiriusXM Pac-12 Radio (channel 373) every Tuesday at 11 a.m. MT.