The Docket 2/1: Tough Task For Reeling Cal Golden Bears

The Cal Golden Bears have followed up a 5-0 start in Pac-12 Conference play with three straight losses, including a home-court defeat at the hands of Arizona State on Wednesday night.

Next up for Cal (14-7): No. 1-ranked Arizona (21-0).

Gulp.

It is Cal’s first meeting against a top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll since an 84-69 loss at Kansas on Dec. 22, 2009. The Golden Bears are just 29-55 all-time against the Wildcats and have lost the last two at Haas Pavilion. However, Cal did beat Arizona in Tucson in the teams’ only meeting last season, 77-69, on Feb. 10. Their last win at home over the Wildcats was a 95-71 win on Feb. 25, 2010.

Cal is now 5-3 in conference play, while Arizona has opened up a two-game lead over UCLA with their 8-0 Pac-12 mark and are one of three unbeaten teams left as the season rolls into February (Syracuse and Wichita State are the others).

Tipoff at Haas Pavilion is 7:30 p.m.

The rest of The Docket as we open February goes like this:

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Arizona State Sun Devils (16-5) at Stanford Cardinal (13-7), 1 p.m.
A couple of teams fighting to stay in the top half of the Pac-12 Conference battle at Maples Pavilion Saturday afternoon. The Sun Devils are 5-3 in league play after a win at Cal on Wednesday, while Wednesday’s loss to No. 1 Arizona dropped the Cardinal to 4-4 in the Pac-12.

Stanford is 44-31 all-time against Arizona State, with the teams splitting two meetings a year ago. The Cardinal won in Tempe 62-59 on Feb. 9, but then lost 89-88 in overtime in the first-round of the Pac-12 tournament on March 13.

The Sun Devils haven’t visited Maples Pavilion since Feb. 2, 2012, a 68-44 win for the Cardinal and Stanford has won the last two meetings at home.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Pacific Tigers (11-9) at San Diego Toreros (13-10), 1 p.m.
The Tigers are last in the West Coast Conference at 2-7, while the Toreros are still in the bottom half of the league at 4-6 after their win over Saint Mary’s on Thursday.

This is Pacific’s first visit to San Diego since Feb. 21, 2009, but the Tigers own a 5-4 advantage in the all-time series. Their only win at San Diego was a 63-57 victory on Dec. 5, 1996, and Pacific did win the last meeting between the teams, 56-55, at Stockton on Nov. 16, 2009.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UC Davis Aggies (7-14) at UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (13-6), 4 p.m.
The Aggies take on the Big West co-leading Gauchos, who are 4-2 in the league, after climbing out of the cellar with a thrilling comeback win at Cal Poly on Thursday to get to 2-4 in Big West play.

UC Davis is 4-15 all-time against the Gauchos but won at The Thunderdome on Feb. 7, 64-56, to gain a split last season after losing to UC Santa Barbara at home 66-59 on Jan. 12, 2013. The win last February snapped a string of nine straight wins in the series for the Gauchos.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: San Jose State Spartans (6-15) at New Mexico Lobos (16-4), 5 p.m.
The Spartans visit Albuquerque still looking for their first win in their new conference; they’ve opened their inaugural Mountain West campaign with nine straight losses. The Lobos are 7-1 in league play, including a 69-65 win at San Jose State on Jan. 11, and trail No. 5 San Diego State by just a half-game.

The Spartans are 0-7 all-time against New Mexico, including an 0-4 mark on the road. Their last visit to The Pit was Feb. 11, 1999, which ended with an 82-46 victory by the Lobos.

NBA: Sacramento Kings (15-31) at San Antonio Spurs (33-13), 5:30 p.m.
Something has to give—the Kings come in with six straight losses and the injury-riddled Spurs have lost a season-high three in a row.

This is the second of the three meetings between Sacramento and San Antonio this season. The Kings lost at the AT&T Center in San Antonio 112-104 on Dec. 29 and will host the Spurs March 21.

Since moving to Sacramento in 1985, the Kings are just 15-42 at San Antonio and have lost the last three. Their last win there was an 88-86 victory on Jan. 20, 2012, and the Kings have lost on 12 of their last 13 trips.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Gonzaga Bulldogs (19-3) at USF Dons (14-8), 7 p.m.
It’s no surprise the Zags are atop the West Coast Conference with a 9-1 mark. The stunner is that the Dons—who lost starting point guard Cody Doolin early in the season—are second in the WCC at 7-3.

The Bulldogs narrowly avoided an upset loss at Santa Clara on Wednesday night and will be looking to complete a season sweep of USF after beating the Dons 69-41 in Spokane on Dec. 30. Gonzaga holds a 47-22 edge in the all-time series and has won three straight, including a 71-61 win at War Memorial Gym on Feb. 16. USF did upset the Zags in their previous visit to San Francisco, a 66-65 win on Feb. 18, 2012.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Portland Pilots (12-10) at Santa Clara Broncos (10-13), 7 p.m.
The Broncos just missed an upset of Gonzaga Wednesday night, losing 54-52, and have dropped five straight to fall to 3-7 in WCC play. Portland is 4-6 in league play after a loss at USF on Wednesday.

Santa Clara will be looking to end their losing skid as well as complete a season sweep of the Pilots. The Broncos posted a 76-68 win at Portland on Dec. 30. Santa Clara leads the all-time series 55-30 and has won the last three meetings, including a 70-46 drubbing of the Pilots at the Leavey Center on Jan. 31, 2013, that snapped a string of four straight wins for Portland in the series.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Weber State Wildcats (11-6) at Sacramento State Hornets (7-11), 7:05 p.m.
The Big Sky Conference leaders come to The Nest having won six straight and are 8-1 in the conference race, while the Hornets improved to 3-6 in league play despite almost squandering a 25-point halftime lead to Idaho State on Thursday.

The Hornets are just 4-33 all-time against Weber State and have lost the last 12 meetings, with their last win a 105-83 triumph at The Nest on Feb. 26, 2007. The Wildcats have won the last six games at Sacramento, including a 70-55 win on Feb. 28.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks (33-10-13) at San Jose Sharks (34-15-6), 7:30 p.m.
The streaky Sharks can’t seem to make up their minds lately—they’ve lost three in a row on the heels of a six-game winning streak. The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, meanwhile, have a slim two-point lead over the Blues in the Central Division and are now six points behind the Ducks for the best record in the league.

The Sharks are 1-1 against the Blackhawks this season as they prepare to close the season series, including a 3-2 shootout victory at Chicago on Jan. 5. This will be the teams’ lone regular-season meeting at home, where the Sharks are 24-12-5 against the Blackhawks all-time. San Jose has won four of the last five meetings with Chicago at the SAP Center, but the Blackhawks won the last time they played there, a 5-3 decision on Feb. 5.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Saint Mary’s Gaels (16-6) at BYU Cougars (14-9), 8 p.m.
What appears to be a fairly important game for seeding in the West Coast Conference will also get national television treatment on ESPN2. The Gaels slipped to 6-3 with a loss at San Diego on Thursday, while BYU improved to 6-4 in the league with a win over Pacific the same night.

Saint Mary’s is 6-8 all-time against BYU, but has won the last four meetings—all of them since the Cougars joined the conference in 2011-12. Last season’s sweep for the Gaels included a 70-69 win at the Marriott Center in Provo. BYU last beat Saint Mary’s on a neutral floor, a 74-73 win on Nov. 27, 2010, at the now-defunct South Padre Island Invitational in Texas, and the Cougars’ last home-court win over Saint Mary’s was a 70-55 triumph on Jan. 2, 2004.

Sunday Lookahead
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Stanford at Cal, 1 p.m.

Topics: Cal Golden Bears Men's Basketball, Pacific Tigers Men's Basketball, Sacramento Kings, Sacramento State Hornets Men's Basketball, Saint Mary's Gaels Men's Basketball, San Jose Sharks, San Jose State Spartans Men's Basketball, Santa Clara Broncos Men's Basketball, Stanford Cardinal Men's Basketball, Uc Davis Aggies Men's Basketball, Usf Dons Men's Basketball

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