Observations: How California will replace Tyrone Wallace at the point

Sam Singer is the key for Cal moving forward.

The Bears came into this season with hopes of winning the Pac-12 and earning a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Those hopes were put on hold on Tuesday after it was announced that Tyrone Wallace will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a broken hand.

The crafty lefty leads Cal in both scoring (15.4) and assists (4.6), but now will be forced to be on the sidelines during the critical part of the Bears’ conference schedule.

Where does Cal turn without Wallace moving forward?

Enter Sam Singer (4.1 points, 2.0 assists).

Cuonzo Martin has felt that the Bears best lineup at times this season has been when both Singer and Wallace were on the floor together and now Cal is going to need Singer to be a steady floor general moving forward.

Wallace isn’t a pure point guard, but he got other people baskets because he was a such a threat to score the ball. Singer is more of a classic play maker and that should allow more finishing opportunities for Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews, Jaylen Brown, and Ivan Rabb.

Cal has had moments of promise this season, but the facts are the facts: the Bears are just 12-6 overall and 2-3 in Pac-12 play.

Now they’ll be forced to move forward through the end of January and most of February without a first-team All-Pac-12 player.

Can Cal still be a team that finishes in the top third of a league that’s having as good as a season as it’s had in recent memory?

It all depends on Singer.

It’s time to buy stock in Jawun Evans: Oklahoma State’s talented freshman point guard came to Stillwater expecting to be Phil Forte’s apprentice.

Evans figured he’d play alongside Forte in the Cowboys’ back court this season, learn the ropes, and then be ready to take over the program next year as a sophomore.

The opposite has happened.

After a an early-season shoulder injury sidelined Forte indefinitely, Evans took the key to Oklahoma State’s car and he hasn’t looked back.

The 6-foot point guard scored 22 points, handed out eight assists, and grabbed six rebounds in last night’s upset win over Kansas and is averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 assists in Big 12 play.

Evans still needs to cut down his turnovers (18 in his last four games), but he’s got the look of a future Big 12 superstar.

Buy stock now.

Seton Hall can make a major statement tonight against Villanova: If the Pirates are truly an NCAA Tournament team then this is the type of game that they need to win on their home floor.

Seton Hall (13-4, 3-2) is on the heels of a key road victory at Providence and also boasts a win over Wichita State .

How can Kevin Willard’s team enhance its resume?

By being the first Big East team to beat Villanova in the past calendar year.

The Pirates battled the Wildcats for 40 minutes two weeks ago in Philadelphia before falling by nine points in a game that was super competitive for until the very end.

Wednesday’s game represents Seton Hall’s best remaining opportunity to boost its potential NCAA standing.

Tipoff is at 9 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

This Just In

  • Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody (strained hamstring) is day-to-day, Rebels coach Andy Kennedy told CBS Sports.

Cal's Sam Singer will get more playing time with Tyrone Wallace out. (USATSI)
Cal’s Sam Singer will get more playing time with Tyrone Wallace out. (USATSI)

This and That

  • Iowa State is now 6-1 in games this season where Abdel Nader scores 15 or more points. The fifth-year senior scored 20 in Monday night’s win over Oklahoma and is averaging 12.9 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 47.8 percent from the field.
  • Louisville’s Trey Lewis is 6-36 from the field over his last four games. That is called a massive shooting slump. Lewis is also 4-21 from three-point range during the span. Rick Pitino’s team is 14-3 overall and hosts Florida State tonight at the KFC Yum Center.
  • Tum Tum Nairn’s foot injury could be a long-term blessing for Michigan State because it will force Tom Izzo to play Denzel Valentine, Bryn Forbes, and Eron Harris on the perimeter together at the same time. Izzo has often closed out games this season with his best players on the floor rather than who plays a certain position and this trio certainly echoes that sentiment. Nairn is expected to return to action in the next few weeks.
  • George Washington’s Tyler Cavanaugh may be college basketball’s least appreciated transfer. The former Wake Forest power forward is averaging 17.2 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from long distance. Mike Lonergan’s squad is 14-4 overall and next hosts Rhode Island on Friday in Washington D.C.
  • Michigan’s Duncan Robinson has made multiple three-point shots in 16 of the Wolverines’ 18 games this season. The Williams (Division III) transfer is shooting 53.5 percent from long distance and is averaging 12.1 points this season — second-best on Michigan.
  • Oklahoma’s staff privately feels that Dante Buford is the wild card for the Sooners moving forward. The red shirt freshman scored 14 points in 16 minutes Monday night at Iowa State and has a chance to give Lon Kruger’s team a different look at power forward. Buford has scored a combined 23 points in Oklahoma’s last two games.
  • Shaka Smart told CBS Sports on Tuesday that he’s hoping Cameron Ridley may be able to play for Texas in March. “There’s no real update,” Smart said of Ridley, who hasn’t played since Dec. 19th due a foot injury. “He has a broken foot. We hope to get him back at some point down the road.” Ridley was averaging 12.7 points and 10.0 rebounds prior to his injury. The Longhorns are 11-6 overall and are in Morgantown to face West Virginia tonight.
  • Several ACC coaches believe Georgia Tech has what it takes to finish in the top half of the conference, but the Yellow Jackets have to begin turning the corner. Brian Gregory’s squad is 1-4 in league play following last Saturday’s home loss to Virginia Tech and next hosts Louisville on Saturday before back-to-back road games at NC State and Syracuse.
  • Rutgers has lost its first six Big Ten games by an average of 27.3 points. The Scarlet Knights’ upcoming schedule is as follows: Iowa, at Michigan, at Michigan State. Eddie Jordan’s squad is 0-6 in conference play and 6-13 overall.

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