LAS VEGAS -- With a resounding 82-59 win over Washington State in the first game of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday, No. 8-seed California ensured it has a date with No. 1 overall seed Arizona at 12:30 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Thursday, and despite the strength of the Bears’ win over the Cougars, and the play of David Kravish -- a career-high 25 points to go along with 8 rebounds – the Wildcats will be no cake walk for Cal.
Arizona touts a lot of size down low in Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski. Remember, it was Ashley’s absence last season that helped the Bears to upset then-No. 1 Arizona.
Tarczewski ranks third in the Pac-12 with a 59.6 field goal percentage, has scored in double figures 17 times this season (including six of the Wildcats’ last seven games) and when he tallies a double-double, Arizona is 39-6 over his career.
Ashley has scored in double figures in 11 of the Wildcats’ last 14 games, and, like the rest of his team, is heating up as the NCAA Tournament looms. He’s reached double figures in scoring in 23 of his 31 games this season and ranks second on the team in scoring and blocks. The 6-foot-9 junior has also attempted a career=high 131 free throws.
Ashley is averaging 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, while Tarczewski averages 9.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. 6-foot-7 forward Stanley Johnson also poses a huge threat, as he leads all Pac-12 freshmen in points and steals per game, averaging 13.9 and 1.5, respectively.