#12 Arizona (16-3, 4-2) at California (13-6, 3-3)
When: Saturday, January 23rd 2016
Where: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPN
The California Golden Bears will get their biggest home test of the season when they host the 12th ranked Arizona Wildcats on Saturday night in Berkeley. Cal has won all 12 home games this season at Haas Pavilion, but are just 7-5 against the spread. The Bears will be without leading scorer Tyrone Wallace for the next few weeks with a broken hand. He’s averaging 15.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. Junior Sam Singer stepped in for Wallace on Thursday night and had 6 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in 35 minutes. He helped the Bears break a three-game losing streak in defeating Arizona State 75-70. Singer helped limit Arizona State star Tra Holder to nine points on 2-of-11 shooting in the game. The frontcourt of Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown combined for 37 points and 10 rebounds, and with Wallace out, the Bears look to get similar efforts from their big men until he comes back. California shoots just 35.5% from three-point range, but they have made at least five of them in 16 of their last 17 games including seven on Thursday. The Bears are stuck in the middle of the Pac-12 at 3-3 with four other teams and a win tonight would not only move them closer to the top, it would provide a quality win for the selection committee come March.
Arizona has rallied since dropping both games recently on their Los Angeles trip (USC, UCLA) to win their last three in convincing fashion. Victories over both Washington schools and Stanford have come by a combined 23.3 points. Arizona averaged 93.6 points a game in their first five Pac-12 games, but played to Stanford’s pace with success on Thursday and won 71-57. They outrebounded the Cardinal 42-29 and will be tested tonight with Cal’s big lineup. Second leading scorer Allonzo Trier will miss the next 3-5 weeks with a broken hand, but this Arizona team is deep. Senior Ryan Anderson is averaging a double-double this season and leads the team in scoring (15.0) and rebounds (10.1). He has hit 20 of his last 24 shots during the three-game winning streak including all seven against Stanford. Guard Gabe York has hit 7 of his last 15 three-point attempts and is at 44% on the season. The Arizona offense ranks 13th in the nation shooting just under 50% from the field and are 4th at limiting opponents to rebounds (26.2). Arizona is just one game behind Washington in the conference and will play the Oregon schools at home next week.
Cal might be undefeated at home, but this Arizona team is finally playing at a Final Four type level. I’m going to take the road favorite in this one laying a small number.
Pick: Arizona -3