Feb. 25, 2002
California Golden Bears (20-6, 11-5) at Arizona State Sun Devils (14-11, 7-9)
Thursday, Feb. 28, 6:30 p.m. MT/5:30 p.m. PT, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ
TV: Fox Sports Arizona
Radio: KABL (960 AM)
California at Arizona Wildcats (18-8, 11-5, vs. Arizona 2/28)
Saturday, March 1, 12 noon MT/11 a.m. PT, McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
TV: CBS (locally on KPIX, Channel 5)
Radio: KABL (960 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Fresh off a home sweep of UCLA and USC, California takes to the road for the final two games of the regular season with a shot at its first conference title since 1960. The Bears are in a three-way tie for second place in the Pac-10 with an 11-5 record, just one game behind 12-4 Oregon.
However, Cal needs some help from either USC or UCLA to knock off the Ducks in Los Angeles this week and may have to sweep in the desert to gain at least a share of the league crown. The Bears, though, are playing at their highest level of the season following the two convincing wins last weekend. Cal owns five wins over ranked teams this season and has won six of its past seven games.
As a result of their recent success, the Bears have earned their first national ranking since 1999. This week, Cal is No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today ratings. The Bears haven't been placed as high as No. 21 by AP since they were 20th on Jan. 9, 1995.
Cal has achieved its status with a unit that leads the Pac-10 in scoring defense (63.9 ppg allowed), field goal percentage defense (40.5%) and turnover margin (+4.88). In addition, the Bears have accumulated 110 blocks so far - the fifth-highest total in school history.
With no individual in the Top 10 in league scoring, Cal has relied on a balanced offensive attack that has featured eight different players earn team scoring honors in games this year. Senior guard Dennis Gates became the latest to join the group when he tallied a career-best 17 points vs. USC last Saturday.
Sophomore A.J. Diggs also tied his personal best against the Trojans with 12 points and four assists. He started and played 28 minutes in place of junior Shantay Legans, who missed the contest with a concussion suffered vs. UCLA Feb. 21. Legans is listed a probable for Thursday's contest at Arizona State.