Date/Time: February 26 at 9:00 pm EST
College Basketball Betting Favorite: Arizona -13
The Arizona Wildcats have lost two games so far this year. Their first loss of the season was a 60-58 loss at Berkley against the Cal Golden Bears. Arizona will get their shot at revenge Wednesday night as they host the Golden Bears in a game nationally televised on ESPN2. The oddsmakers are high on Arizona’s chances at revenge here, with Arizona being set as a 13 point favorite.
The California Golden Bears are a bit of an enigma this year. Cal is capable of beating anyone, as they proved with their win over Arizona as well as wins at Stanford and Oregon. At the same time, Cal is fully capable of playing down to the level of their competition and getting upset. The Golden Bears lost at USC recently, and they also lost at home against Stanford. This is a Cal team that is very young. Jordan Matthews and Jabari Bird are two of the team’s key players, and they are both freshmen. Justin Cobbs leads the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game.
Mike Montgomery’s team does a great job taking care of the ball on offense, but they don’t always have good ball movement and get quality shots. When the Golden Bears are in a funk, it is typically because they are settling for too many bad shots. Opponents have done some damage against Cal’s defense from beyond the arc, but the Golden Bears do a good job of protecting the paint.
Arizona had a brutal three-game road trip before this contest. The Wildcats lost in double overtime to Arizona State before upending Utah in overtime and then dominating Colorado on the road. That win at Colorado was great for this team as they seemed to get their confidence back. Brandon Ashley is out with an injury, and his absence has really slowed the offense down in recent weeks. Against Colorado, Arizona’s offense started clicking again. Aaron Gordon had 23 points to lead the Wildcats in that win. If Gordon can shoot the ball the way he did in that game, the Wildcats will be tough to beat.
Arizona’s defense will always be there. This is the number one defense in the nation. Arizona has athletic wings who are great at guarding the perimeter as well as long big men on the inside who patrol the paint. Nick Johnson is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. T.J. McConnell has been huge for this team at the point guard spot this year as well. Sean Miller has been singing McConnell’s praise of late. Having a true point guard who distributes the ball has been great for this team. Arizona’s defense is elite, and if their offense comes to play every game, they will be a very tough out in March.
Free Pick: Cal +13
I think Arizona gets their revenge here, but this line is huge. California has shown they can win on the road at Oregon and Stanford. Arizona is going to be hungry, but their offense isn’t always elite. Slight lean toward the underdog here.
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