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No. 3 Arizona seeks payback Wednesday vs. Cal
By: Robert Livingston - StatFox
Published: 2/26/2014  at  4:11:00 AM
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McKale Center - Tucson, AZ
Tip-off: Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. ET
Line: Arizona -12.5, Total: 133

No. 3 Arizona lost its first game of the season to California in the teams' first meeting, but enters Wednesday's rematch as a double-digit home favorite.

California eked out a 60-58 win on Feb. 1 as six-point home underdogs, but the loss proved costly for the Wildcats, as starting SF Brandon Ashley went down for the season early in the game. The Golden Bears were outrebounded 41-32, but held Arizona to 32.3% FG (2-of-11 threes). Since then, the Wildcats have gone 4-1 SU (3-2 ATS) with an impressive road sweep of Utah and Colorado last week, which is a good sign considering they are 11-3 ATS this season after covering two of their past three contests. Arizona is now 16-10 ATS overall (9-6 ATS at home) but only 7-7 ATS in league action. California is 3-2 SU (1-4 ATS) in its five contests since the big upset, playing as the favorite in each game. The Golden Bears are 12-14 ATS overall this season (4-5 ATS on the road), 7-7 ATS in Pac-12 play and 3-3 ATS as underdogs. They are also 11-1 ATS against great defensive teams (64 or less PPG allowed) after 15+ games over the past two seasons. Notably, California upset the Wildcats as 12.5-point underdogs in Tucson last year, prevailing 77-69 at the McKale Center. But that was a rare feat, considering Arizona is 13-2 SU when hosting Cal since 1997. However, the Bears are 9-6 ATS in these past 15 meetings at McKale Center.

Will Arizona get payback and cover the massive spread on Tuesday? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a stellar 60% ATS (232-155-13) mark, including a hefty 62% ATS (200-121-7) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 69% ATS (53-24-3) in Best Bets for the season, 88% ATS (21-3-2) since Jan. 17 and 73% ATS (46-17-2) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (49-31-1) for the season and 67% ATS (32-16) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Zach is 55% ATS (41-34-4) on Best Bets this season, including 57% ATS (35-27-3) since Nov. 22. StatFox Scott is 58% ATS (45-32-3) for the season and 60% ATS (35-23-3) since Dec. 2, while StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (44-34-2) for the season, and 60% ATS (38-25) since Nov. 29.

California has one of the better passing offenses in the nation, averaging 15.6 APG (27th in Div. I) to support their 74.7 PPG (82nd in nation) on 46.0% shooting (86th in Div. I). Defensively, the Bears yield 69.3 PPG (153rd in nation) on 41.5% FG, but allow opponents to make 36.1% threes. The hero in their earlier upset of Arizona was PG Justin Cobbs (15.9 PPG, 6.1 APG), the teamís leading passer and scorer who put home a late bucket to secure the win. Heís coming off a big 22-point performance against USC on Sunday in which he made 8-of-10 FG and posted seven assists for the fourth consecutive game. Heís joined in the backcourt by sophomore SG Tyrone Wallace (11.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.9 APG), who has struggled shooting the ball lately, making just 31% FG (21% threes) over his past four games. Down low, senior PF Richard Solomon (11.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG) averages a double-double, though he has put up a combined 11 points and 12 rebounds in his past two games. He gets a lot of help from PF David Kravish (11.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG), who leads the team with 1.8 BPG and is coming off a stellar nine-point, 10-rebound, five-block performance on Sunday. Kravish recorded 14 points, 11 rebounds and four rejections against Arizona on Feb. 1.

Arizona doesnít run a high-octane offense with 73.4 PPG (107th in Div. I) on 47.0% shooting (56th in Div. I), but makes up for it on the glass and on defense. Its 39.0 RPG ranks 20th in the nation, as the Wildcats outrebound opponents by a whopping 8.9 RPG. Theyíve maintained a strong rebounding edge even without SF Brandon Ashley, grabbing 6.2 more RPG than their opponents in their past five contests. Their defense holds opponents to 57.9 PPG (5th in Div. I) on 37.9% FG (also 5th in nation) and 30.1% threes (20th in Div. I). SG Nick Johnson (16.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.9 APG) is the teamís leading scorer, but he had a miserable 1-of-14 shooting night against California, missing all five of his three-point attempts and turning it over five times. He followed that up by making just 18-of-56 FG (32%) in his next four games, but finally showed signs of life in the teamís win against Colorado on Saturday, dropping 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting, adding six assists. The teamís bright spots against the Golden Bears were down low as C Kaleb Tarczewski (9.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG) led the team with 18 points, making 12-of-12 FT attempts. Freshman PF Aaron Gordon (11.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG) also had a big day, grabbing 13 boards and dishing out six assists to make up for his 4-for-14 shooting performance. Remarkably, the California defense held PG T.J. McConnell (8.1 PPG, 5.6 APG) without an assist, though he was able to contribute 13 points and two steals. Like Johnson, McConnell had a big day against Colorado with nine points, 10 assists and four steals.

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