Arizona (14-12, 5-8) has lost seven straight, while Cal (5-20, 0-13) has dropped 14 in a row. KenPom gives the Wildcats a 91 percent chance of snapping their skid, with a projected final score of 78-63. Vegas was listing Arizona as 13.5-point favorites when this published.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. MST on FOX Sports 1. Here are some things to watch for, and below are our score predictions. Be sure to leave yours in the comment section.
Brian J. Pedersen — Arizona wins 74-62
Finally, a win! But not without at least a few moments of abject fear that one of the worst teams in Pac-12 history might actually keep Arizona from ending its longest skid in 36 years. Cal is horrible, like, really horrible, but as bad as the Golden Bears have been they haven’t been flat-out destroyed recently. Yes, they’ve been outscored by 182 points in 14 league games, but last week they took UCLA to overtime at home and before that were competitive at the Oregon schools. Even with a depleted roster, Arizona still has far more talent, but that’s only going to be enough to win—not dominate.
Ronnie Stoffle — Arizona wins 78-66
Cal has been really bad this year so you have to imagine that the losing streak finally ends here. I trust UA will win, I just don’t know if I can trust that UA will cover. The Wildcats have opened as 13.5 point favorites which I could subscribe to if Brandon Williams were playing. However, Sean Miller has ruled him out.
The narrative shouldn’t be “Will Arizona win?” The narrative should be “By how much will Arizona win?”
Christopher Boan — Arizona wins, 78-60
As bad as Arizona’s played this year, there’s no topping the mediocrity coming from the great town of Berkeley. Wyking Jones, whose name far exceeds his coaching acumen, has led the Bears to a 5-20 mark this season, including an unblemished 0-13 conference record that’s so bad it’s almost impressive.
The Golden Bears’ faithful, or what’s left of them, should be praying that the school’s leadership has the gall to throw a truckload full of $100 bills at Eric Musselman, praying that the Nevada coach somehow accepts their offer. Otherwise, it’s going to be a bleak existence for the prodigal institution of the University of California system for a long, long time. Expect the Wildcats to struggle, somehow, against this husk of a basketball team for 25-30 minutes, before mustering enough momentum to bury the woebegone Bears in the game’s waning minutes.
Ryan Kelapire — Arizona wins 75-66
The losing streak will finally end because no major-conference team should lose to Cal at home. I’m not as confident as my fellow writers that Arizona will win comfortably, even if the first matchup between these teams was a blowout.