Colorado (19-8) at California (19-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (11,877) -- Berkeley, California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Colorado 11-2, California 10-4. Away Record: Colorado 5-6, California 6-5. Neutral Record: Colorado 3-0, California 3-0. Conference Record: Colorado 9-6, California 11-5. Series Record: Series is tied, 10-10.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams gunning for their 20th win of the season will collide at Haas Pavilion on Saturday in a Pac-12 Conference duel between the Colorado Buffaloes and the California Golden Bears.
Colorado has kicked it into high gear since the beginning of February with wins in five of the seven games. The Buffaloes have used that success to raise themselves back into contention for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth as well as within range of a top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. The Buffaloes are 19-8 overall and 9-6 in league action which has them just 2.5 games behind conference leading Oregon.
If there is any team in the Pac-12 that has helped itself out more in the last month it is California. The Golden Bears have picked up wins in six straight games and eight of their last nine. They are now 19-9 overall and at 11-5 in league action just a game back of the Ducks for the top spot in the Pac-12. Like Colorado, California is still in the running for an NCAA Tournament bid but could use some more help to bolster its chances.
Askia Booker led four players in double figures and Xavier Johnson had a double-double as Colorado took an 81-71 victory in the first meeting of the season between these teams. The Buffaloes have won three straight and six of the last seven meetings with the Golden Bears to even the all-time series at 10 wins apiece.
Colorado is coming off a hard fought, 65-63, win over a pesky Stanford squad at Maples Pavilion. Andre Roberson scored a game-high 24 points in the contest in which the Buffaloes led by as many as 10 points. They had that lead trimmed to two points twice in the final minute but Roberson hit a pair of clutch free throws and the Cardinal failed to get off a final shot attempt in the closing seconds.
Roberson (10.8 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 2.2 spg, 1.4 bpg) is certainly a solid scorer as he shoots 48.3 percent from the floor but he isn't often carrying the offensive load. The 6-foot-7 forward has been more vital for his varying contributions as the country's leading rebounder as well as one of the best defenders in the Pac-12. Spencer Dinwiddie (15.4 ppg) is normally the most productive offensive force for the Buffaloes and he was yet again against Stanford with 19 points. Booker (13.0 ppg) has been on a down-turn since these teams last met as the 6-foot-1 guard has failed to score in double figures in five of the seven games since. The Buffaloes will likely be without Josh Scott (11.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg) again as he continues to recover from a concussion.
California continued its run of strong defensive showings in a 64-46 win over Utah on Thursday. The Golden Bears limited the Utes to just 16 field goals on 29.1 percent shooting in the contest. Over the last three games the Golden Bears have kept their opponents to just 30.4 percent shooting.
Allen Crabbe (18.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg) continued his impressive season with a 15- point, 11-rebound double-double against Utah. The 6-foot-6 guard is among the leading candidates for Conference Player of the Year as he leads the league in scoring, while netting at least 20 points in 12 games this season. Crabbe was also named one of the 30 candidates for the Naismith Player of the Year Award earlier this week. Crabbe has been aided in the backcourt by Justin Cobbs (14.8 ppg, 4.7 apg) who on any other team might very well be the top option on the offensive end. The Golden Bears don't feature any other double-figure scorers, although Richard Solomon (8.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and David Kravish (8.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are solid performers in the frontcourt.
This is an important game for both of these teams as a win pads one team's NCAA Tournament resume, while improving their positioning for the Pac-12 Tournament. With Crabbe leading the way the Golden Bears should be able to defend their home floor and pick up that 20th win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 72, Colorado 68
03/02 10:34:11 ET