Jan. 21, 2002
California Golden Bears (13-3, 4-2) at USC Trojans (14-3, 6-1)
Thursday, Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m., L.A. Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: KABL (960 AM)
California at UCLA Bruins (13-4, 5-2, vs. Stanford Jan. 24)
Saturday, Jan. 26, 5 p.m., Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: KABL (960 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
With its next three games against Top 25 teams, Cal begins the most difficult part of its schedule this week. The Bears visit No. 22 USC Thursday and No. 13 UCLA Saturday, before returning home to host No. 12 Arizona Jan. 31.
All three teams are ahead of Cal in the Pac-10 race, meaning the next two weeks could go a long way in determining the Bears' postseason fate.
Cal, though, boasts a 13-3 overall record for its best 16-game start since 1959-60 when the Bears opened 15-1 under head coach Pete Newell en route to a 28-2 final mark and an NCAA runner-up finish.
Like Newell's teams, the current Cal squad is built on a strong defense that leads the conference in five categories - scoring defense (60.8 ppg), field goal percentage defense (38.3%), three-point percentage defense (31.1%), steals (9.19 spg) and turnover margin (+5.88).
Already, nine opponents have been held to 60 points or less, including Stanford, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State. The last time Cal limited nine or more teams to 60 or less was in 1985-86 when 10 schools didn't break 60 points and a 45-second shot clock was in use.
Individually, freshman center Jamal Sampson is coming off the best two-game stretch of his career. He dominated the Washington contest last Thursday with 15 points, 17 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 assists. The 15 points tied a personal high, while the rebound, block and assist totals were career bests. Sampson then had 12 points and nine boards against WSU Saturday.
Also along the front line, freshman Amit Tamir tallied 17 points vs. the Cougars to raising his scoring average to 10.1 ppg. In addition, senior center Solomon Hughes should be closer to full strength this week. He missed Cal's first four Pac-10 games with a strained right knee and bone bruise, then saw limited action against the Washington schools.
Overall, junior forward Joe Shipp continues to pace the offensive attack with 14.8 ppg.
No TV for USC Game
Early schedules showed that Thursday's Cal-USC would be televised in the Bay Area on KRON TV (Channel 4). However, due to network contractual restrictions, the game will not be shown. Instead, Cal's Feb. 14 contest at Washington State will be aired on KRON.