California Golden Bears at #3 Arizona Wildcats
McKale Center – Tucson, Arizona
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Arizona -12 1/2
Current Line: Arizona -13
Opening Total: 133
Current Total: 134
Opening Money Line: Arizona -1000 / California +670
Opening Money Line: Arizona -1200 / California +760
On February 1, the then 21-0 Arizona Wildcats were the near unanimous #1 team in the country. The Wildcats played at the California Golden Bears that day. Cal handed Arizona their first loss of the season 60-58. The loss was also costly because Arizona forward Brandon Ashley injured his foot in that game and was lost for the season. The two teams meet again Wednesday night in Tucson.
Arizona has gone 4-1 since the Cal loss to bring their record to 25-2, and lead the Pac 12 with a 12-2 record by 2 games over UCLA. California is 18-9 overall and tied for third in conference with Stanford at 9-5.
Arizona leads the series 55-30 against California but the Golden Bears have won 2 straight games in the series. Arizona is 30-10 in Tuscon against Cal.
California is coached by Mike Montgomery. The Golden Bears have losses to Syracuse and Dayton in the Maui Invitational, at UC-Santa Barbara, at Creighton, at USC, UCLA twice, Arizona State and Stanford. Cal has key wins over Oakland, Minnesota in Maui, UC-Irvine, Fresno State, Nevada, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State, Washington twice, Washington State twice, Arizona, and USC 77-64 Sunday. The bears have won 3 of their last 4 games. Cal is 12-14 ATS and the total is 12-14 this season.
California is outscoring teams 75-69 this season. The Golden Bears are shooting 46% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. Cal makes 68.6% from the free throw line. Golden Bear opponents are shooting 41.5% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. Cal averages 37 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.4 per game. The Golden Bears average 15.6 assists, 10.2 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.1 assists, 10.7 turnovers, 4.6 steals, and 3.4 blocks per game.
Cal guard Justin Cobbs averages 15.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. Guard Tyrone Wallace averages 11.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward David Kravish averages 11.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Forward Richard Solomon averages 11.3 points, 10 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. Guard Jordan Mathews averages 8.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Guard Jabari Bird averages 8.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Guard Ricky Kreklow averages 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. Arizona also has a loss at rival Arizona State in double overtime. The Wildcats have key wins over Cal Poly, Long Beach State, at San Diego State, Rhode Island, Drexel and Duke in the pre-season NIT in New York City, Texas Tech, UNLV, New Mexico State, at Michigan, Washington State, Washington, at UCLA and USC, Arizona State, Colorado twice (including 88-61 in Boulder Saturday), Utah twice , at Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State. Arizona has won two straight games. Arizona is 16-10 ATS and the total is 6-17-2 this season.
Arizona is outscoring teams 73-58 this season. The Wildcats are #5 nationally in points allowed. Arizona is shooting 46.9% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #55 nationally in field goal percentage. Arizona makes 65.6% of their free throws and are #303 nationally out of 351 teams in that category. Wildcat opponents are shooting 37.9% from the field and 30.1% from 3 point range. Arizona is #5 in field goal defense and #21 in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 39.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 26.4. Arizona is #19 in rebounding and #6 nationally in rebounds allowed. The Wildcats average 15.1 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 4.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 9 assists, 12.6 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 3 blocks per game.
Guard Nick Johnson averages 16 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Aaron Gordon averages 11.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Both Johnson and Gordon are on the Wooden and Naismith Awards mid-season watch list. Forward Brandon Ashley averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1 assist per game. He broke his foot in the Cal loss and is gone for the season. Center Kaleb Tarczewski averages 9.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1 block per game. Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 8.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Guard T.J. McConnell averages 8.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Gabe York averages 6.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
Arizona played easily their best game since Ashley was injured Saturday when they routed a good Colorado team on the road. I think the Wildcats are rounding into form as march approaches and can make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Barring a total collapse, they have an excellent shot of being one of the four #1 seeds in the tournament, perhaps even the #1 overall seed. The angry Wildcats get their revenge against California.