California is certainly not playing like a last-place team, especially with the calendar in March.
The Golden Bears upset Arizona last Sunday at McKale Center and they surprised No. 24 ASU 71-67 today in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament at the Mandalay Bay Events Center at Las Vegas.
That means No. 4 Arizona (23-6) will get another shot at the 12th-seeded Golden Bears (12-18) in a quarterfinal game tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.
CAN WE GET A GO BEARS?!? pic.twitter.com/1V9RpTtfWO
— Cal Basketball (@CalWBBall) March 5, 2020
Adia Barnes and her players, including Aari McDonald, said during Tuesday’s media gathering at McKale Center, that they would rather have a rematch against Cal then face an ASU team it swept during the regular season.
That is now the case, but a victory over the Golden Bears is a must to not adversely affect their NCAA tournament seed and ability to host the first and second rounds. The Wildcats are presently a No. 4 seed as revealed by the selection committee Monday with their No. 14 ranking.
This stepback by the freshman. 🥶
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) March 5, 2020
Cal’s RPI ranking entering today was No. 130. Arizona is at No. 27. Another loss to Cal would be devastating.
Jaelyn Brown led Cal with 22 points in today’s win over ASU. Cailyn Crocker added 20 points and Jazlen Green had 14 before fouling out.
The Golden Bears went on a 20-0 run to go from a 46-35 deficit with 1:55 left in the third quarter to lead 55-46 with 8:47 left in regulation.
Cal weathered a late 7-0 run by ASU to hold on for the win. Two free throws by C.J. West with 14 seconds helped cement the win. Two more by Crocker with 1 second remaining sealed it.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.