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Mike Montgomery Doesn’t Think Cal Has an Advantage Playing Close to Home Tonight

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The Cal Bears and Mike Montgomery garnered their most national attention this season when Montgomery had a bit of a dust-up with player Allen Crabbe. After that, the Bears went on a run that has lead them to the NCAA tournament. They’ll play UNLV tonight in a second-round game. Mike Montgomery joined KNBR in San Francisco with Gary and Larry to discuss Selection Sunday, getting to play in the NCAA tournament in San Jose, if there’s an advantage to being that close to home, if the situation involving Allen Crabbe helped swing the momentum in Cal’s favor down the stretch and if he was surprised the incident garnered so much attention.

Were you sweating a little bit on Sunday?:

“Well, I think everybody sweats. … I think any time, with the way that it’s evolved over the years, I think everybody’s a little bit apprehensive. And frankly, when Oregon got a 12 seed, that made me think, ‘Uh oh.’ … That provided for a little bit of angst, but most of the pundits had us in. You would have felt a lot more nervous if they had you on the bubble.”

Do you know why you were selected to play so close to home?:

“No. Like you say, this is not my first rodeo. I’ve always been a proponent of the pod system that keeps as many people as close to home as possible. I think we were 11 and I think Oregon was an 11, and in order to make it fit, logistically, they moved us to a 12, in order to play a 5 that put us in San Jose.  I don’t think there’s any magic to it. It’s not that big a deal.”

Do you think it gives you somewhat of an advantage?:

“No, the tickets were all sold before the teams were announced. The people that are going are going to watch basketball. We have the same number of seats to sell as UNLV does. … Having said that, whatever Montana got, I would guess that they would probably lean our way, having worked there for 10 years. And maybe the people that bought locally will say, ‘Hey, Cal’s here, I’ll root for them.’ But as far as any distinct advantage, no.”

In a strange way, did the publicized incident with Allen Crabbe turn your season around?:

“I think if we lose that game, I think we’re probably not in the tournament. At the time, SC was playing really well, but they didn’t end up as one of the top teams in the league. … I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. It was a spur-of-the-moment deal, but winning seven in a row, beating Oregon, beating UCLA, beating Arizona, and not losing in that stretch, I think is what got us in the tournament.”

Were you surprised at the attention that garnered?:

“Yeah, I’m shocked every time I turn around, but yeah I was. As you know, in any business, there’s people you think are really good and there’s people that aren’t really. There’s people that are looking to sensationalize; there’s people that will take an honest look.”

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