Three Thoughts: Buffaloed in Boulder

Allen Crabbe (USA Today Sports)

California continues its maddening trend of digging a big first-half hole in 81-71 loss at Colorado.

1. If You Haven't Seen It, It's New To You
As predictable as a rerun of Perry Mason, California followed the same old script in its 81-71 loss at Colorado, digging a huge first-half hole only to make a run at the start of the second before running out of gas. The only twist was that the Golden Bears delivered a shooting performance so putrid in the opening 20 minutes no one was still watching when they used a quick 7-0 spurt to pull within nine in the first ninety seconds of the second half.

Allen Crabbe was a complete non-factor in the first half, making Justin Cobbs' 3-for-10 look fantastic by comparison. Crabbe came to life with 17 after the break, finishing with 21, but Cal simply cannot compete when the junior disappears for long stretches. The only reason the final score looks somewhat close is the 20 turnovers Colorado committed and late marksmanship from its lead guards.

2. Bye Bye, Bye
With the Pac-12 title no longer in the picture, the goal for Cal should be finishing in the top four and securing a first-round bye in the conference tournament in Las Vegas, avoiding the prospect of having to play four games in four days.

Now, even that seems like a remote possibility. Mike Montgomery's team is sitting in seventh place and looking up at quality teams with legitimate NCAA tournament aspirations. The only hope is to feast on the dredges of the league, pick off a couple of quality scalps, and that teams above them go into the tank. But based on what Cal has shown so far, with a decimated roster and inconsistent effort and offense, it looks like a fantasy.

3. On The Firing Line
Robert Thurman thoroughly outplayed David Kravish and Richard Solomon on Sunday, providing eight points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes compared to 11 points and five rebounds combined in 47 minutes for the starters. It wouldn't be a surprise if Montgomery changes the starting lineup next week to reflect that imbalance and reward Thurman's play.

Solomon continues to take maddening jump shots, while he and Kravish aren't aggressive enough to finish consistently around the rim. Developing into more reliable scorers must be a top priority for those two, otherwise Montgomery could go to a four-guard lineup next season, something he was considering before injuries took their toll this year.

Dan Greenspan writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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