The hits kept coming for California before its first NCAA tournament game against Hawaii, as Jabari Bird would not play on Friday.
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Bird Unlikely to Return in the Second Half
Friday, March 18
Theo Lawson of the Lewiston Tribune reported Bird would be absent.
Connor Letorneau of the San Francisco Chronicle added Bird is dealing with back spasms. After halftime, Jeff Faraudo of the Bay Area News Group reported Bird was sitting at the end of Cal's bench in his warmups and noted his shoes were untied.
Bird's absence is compounded by the fact Cal is also playing without point guard Tyrone Wallace, who led the team in scoring during the regular season, because of a broken hand that will keep him out for the entire tournament.
Having Bird on the sidelines takes away a player who averaged 10.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game this season. He is also one of the Golden Bears' best shooters, connecting on 46.3 percent of his attempts, including 40.9 percent from three-point range.
Playing without two key scorers against a Hawaii team that finished the regular season ranked eighth in defensive efficiency, per Sports-Reference.com, spells trouble for Cal.
The Golden Bears do have quality depth with Jaylen Brown, Jordan Matthews and Ivan Rabb, but there are only so many hits one team can take before things begin to fall apart.