California (18-7, 9-4) at Stanford (12-13, 4-9)
When: Friday, February 17th 2017
Where: Maples Pavilion, Palo Alto, CA
Time: 10:00 ET | TV: FOX Sports 1
The California Golden Bears look to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive when they visit the Stanford Cardinal on Friday night. Cal saw their five-game winning streak snapped on Saturday in a 62-57 loss to sixth-ranked Arizona. They will need a bounce-back effort from star forward Ivan Rabb, who was held to four points and three rebounds while battling foul trouble against the Wildcats. Rabb, who scored 25 points and grabbed 13 boards in last month’s 66-55 victory over Stanford, struggled against Arizona after freshman point guard Charlie Moore left the game late in the first half with a hip injury. Moore practiced Tuesday and is expected to start against the Cardinal. The Bears have a terrific defense that ranks 13th in the country in points allowed (62.2) and 11th in field goal percentage defense (39.0) but lack many reliable scorers beyond Moore, Rabb and senior Jabari Bird, who scored 19 points in the loss to Arizona. Rabb has been helped recently by the play of 7’1″ center Kameron Rooks, who missed 10 games earlier this season due to injury but has averaged 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds over his last three games.
The Cardinal are mired near the bottom of the Pac-12 standings and have lost five of their last six games overall and are ranked 281st in scoring offense (68.7). Reid Travis averages 17.2 points and 8.6 rebounds to lead Stanford, which will have a rough time against Cal’s conference-leading defense. After playing well in a close loss at Arizona last week, the Cardinal lost 75-69 to Arizona State on Saturday despite winning the battle of the boards by a 49-27 margin. Travis registered 17 points and 11 rebounds while Michael Humphrey continued his solid play of late with 16 points and 13 boards. Stanford is getting solid contributions lately from senior guard Marcus Allen, who is averaging 12.5 points on 52.1% shooting over his last eight games. Allen is 3-of-5 from 3-point range in his last three games after going 5-of-32 over his first 22. Stanford has won 20 of the last 23 meetings with the Bears at Maples Pavilion. Stanford will go up against the Oregon schools next week with the last place Beavers up first.
I really don’t see how the Cardinal can score more than 55 against this Cal defense even though they’ll be at home. Cal is on a roll right now and should win this game easily.
Pick: California -3.5
HEAD TO HEAD