California Golden Bears at (5) Arizona Wildcats (-19, 134.5 o/u)
The Arizona Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12) have already clinched a share of the Pac-12 regular season title. If they can down the California Golden Bears (17-12, 7-9 Pac-12) tonight at the McKale Center (9:00 p.m. Eastern), the Wildcats will win the title outright for the second straight season.
Arizona comes into tonight’s game with an unblemished home record (18-0). They are also riding high after downing No. 13 Utah in Salt Lake City, 63-57, on the weekend. The Wildcats scored the final eight points of the game, keyed by some clutch shooting from guard Gabe York, who scored five of his 12 points in the final two minutes.
Head coach Sean Miller is pleased with how his team is playing, but is remaining vigilant that the squad focuses, not on the road ahead, but the next task at hand.
“Part of playing well is to be locked in on not making this too big and yet understanding that everything we do is really important,” said Miller. “For example, Cal, not what seed we’re going to get or if we win, what’s going to happen as much as can we play our best and build on the Utah and Colorado trip here this weekend?”
Cal is just 7-9 in conference play this year, but can still catch Oregon State for seventh in the Pac-12 standings.
The Bears helped their chances last game by trouncing the Beavers, 73-56, in Berkeley. That game put a halt to a three-game losing streak for the Bears and the team is hoping the big win snowballs.
“I am really hoping that we can keep the momentum going and bring it to the upcoming road games,” said Bears forward David Kravish, who had 13 points and 13 boards against the Beavers. “Then carry that to the Pac-12 tournament because we have a lot of games coming up.”
Arizona already smashed Cal, 73-50, on the road back in late January. With tonight’s game in Tucson, the Wildcats are currently 19-point favorites.
(Photo credit: Beaverbasketball (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode]. Photo has been cropped.)