2011-2012 Men’s basketball schedule released

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with … Mike Montgomery and Ben Howland? Yup.

That’s one of the highlights on Cal’s recently-released men’s basketball schedule. The Bears will ring in their Pac-12 play with a pair of late December games at Haas Pavilion: on the 29th against USC and the 31st against UCLA.

Another notable aspect is the team’s lighter non-conference schedule. And it is much lighter.

There aren’t many world-beaters on that slate, especially when you consider who Cal has faced over the last two years: Kansas twice, Syracuse and Ohio State at Madison Square Garden, New Mexico at The Pit and a San Diego State team that went to the Sweet 16.

This season, there are no more Jayhawks on the docket. Further, the Bears’ Dec. 4 trip to SDSU won’t be against the same Aztecs who dominated at Haas last year — Steve Fisher lost four starters, including NBA draft pick Kawhi Leonard.

Cal’s toughest non-conference outings will be at the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo. — the Bears play Georgia and either Notre Dame or Missouri —  as well as a trip to UNLV. The Rebels were 24-9 last season and made the NCAA tournament.