Cal Preview

Senior Day in Tempe has arrived and the Arizona State Sun Devils (20-8, 9-6 Pac-12) will host the California Golden Bears (18-10, 9-6) at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday afternoon in an effort to sweep the weekend and finish off the best season at home in school history.

Cal ended Arizona's undefeated season after 21 games on the first day of February and Arizona made sure that when Cal ventured into the desert that the Bears would not have any such luck for a repeat performance. Arizona ran away with an 87-59 win with Justin Cobbs' 12 points being the only double-figure mark on the team.

A return to the win column was lovely but winning in emphatic fashion behind a dazzling display from Jahii Carson, who scored 23 of his game-high 26 in the second half. The Devils won 76-64 and didn't let Stanford get any closer than nine points in the second half. Marshall and Shaq McKissic combined for 26 while Bo Barnes continued to impress off the bench with eight points to go along with relentless hustle on both ends. Anthony Brown led Stanford with 21.

The Sun Devils pulled out an impressive overtime victory in Berkeley after blowing a 16-point lead in regulation in the first meeting between these two in late January. Jahii Carson scored 29 points and Jermaine Marshall poured in 22 of his own in the high scoring 89-78 affair. Justin Cobbs led Cal with 21 while Tyrone Wallace added 20 of his own.

With an RPI of 30 and only three conference tilts left before the Pac-12 Tournament, ASU has a strong chance to get invited to the NCAA Tournament but they certainly don't want to leave that decision in the committee's hands if there happens to be a late-season slide like in years past. With this being the final home game of the season, the Devils have a chance to finish their home slate with a 16-1 record – an ASU record for home winning percentage – and add another solid win to their resume.

Head Coach:

Mike Montgomery: 6th season at Cal – 127-69; 671-327 career

Herb Sendek: 8th season at ASU – 138-115; 394-272 career

Projected Starters:

G – Justin Cobbs (15.8 PPG, 6.0 APG) vs. Jahii Carson (18.7 PPG, 4.6 APG)

G – Ricky Kreklow (6.2 PPG, 39% 3PT) vs. Jermaine Marshall (15.5 PPG, 41% 3PT)

F – Tyrone Wallace (11.6 PPG, 34% 3PT) vs. Shaq McKissic (8.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG)

F – David Kravish (11.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG) vs. Eric Jacobsen (2.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG)

C – Richard Solomon (11.2 PPG, 9.9 RPG) vs. Jordan Bachynski (11.3 PPG, 4.3 BPG)

Why Cal Can Win:

Justin Cobbs is one of the nation's finest point guards and he is surrounded by a solid backcourt of Tyrone Wallace, Ricky Kreklow, Jordan Mathews and Jabari Bird. In the frontcourt, David Kravish and Richard Solomon are loaded with talent and both rebound the ball well. Cobbs is the guy who makes the engine hum but if they get significant output from a few others, they may have enough firepower to shoot past ASU, especially if foul trouble plagues the already thin Sun Devils.

Why ASU Can Win:

Jahii Carson has struggled for a large portion of the Pac-12 slate but he was a man amongst boys when Stanford came to town with a phenomenal game shooting the rock, penetrating the defense and forcing Chasson Randle out of the game. If Carson can maintain this level of play, ASU is very tough to beat because it allows the rest of his mates more opportunities to capitalize. Jermaine Marshall is due for another big game while Shaq McKissic and Bo Barnes have been strong momentum-builders in quiet moments the last couple weeks. Jordan Bachynski has been too quiet recently and that needs to change against Cal as Solomon and Kravish are formidable bigs that can force him to play at a more physical level. ASU can win the game with a strong performance from Jahii Carson and a consistent outside shooting attack.

Key Stat: In the 11 games since Bo Barnes starting becoming a regular contributor, the Devils are 7-4 with Barnes putting 6.6 points per game while shooting 44% from deep in just over 18 minutes per game. Most recently, Barnes has been a sparkplug for an otherwise sluggish squad with solid rebounding, defense and physicality.

X-Factor: Jordan Bachysnki; In his last three games, the Canadian senior has just 11 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks (3.6 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 BPG). As he approaches his final home game of his record-breaking career, Bachynski needs to break out of his slump and contribute in a big way on Senior Day.

Final Score: ASU 73 Cal 69


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