Arizona Basketball Preview: No. 18 Wildcats take on Cal in Pac-12 Season Opener

The Arizona Basketball team heads to Northern California to kick off their Pac-12  opener against the Golden Bears of Cal.

Will the Wildcats come out rusty, with a little over ten days of rest since their last game?

The No.18 Arizona Wildcats (11-2) smoked the Lobos of New Mexico 77-46 a little over a week ago. Now, the Arizona Basketball teams opens up Pac-12 Conference play this Friday, December 30th at 8:00 P.M. PST (9:00 P.M. MST) against the California Golden Bears (9-3)

Arizona would love to start off conference play with a W against Cal.  While we patiently wait for Allonzo Trier’s hopeful return to the court, Coach Sean Miller spoke of the potential return of his junior point guard, Parker Jackson-Cartwright.

according to Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star Miller stated the following:

“We’re taking it slow,” Miller said. “He had some pain, but the pain continues to improve. We allowed him to do a few competitive segments and it’s important for us not to put him in harm’s way or jeopardize his recovery.

We initially thought it would be more like eight weeks. That’s far from the (case with Jackson-Cartwright), but whether it will be this weekend remains to be seen.”

It seems very unlikely that PJC will return Friday night, but he has a better likelihood playing in Sunday’s matchup against Stanford. Kadeem Allen and Kobi Simmons have filled in at the PG position while PJC is fully recovering, that also moves Lauri to the small forward position that can hurt us against a Gold Bear team ready to get back on the court.

Cal is coming off a nail bitter against No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers, losing 56-52. Freshmen guard Charlie Moore is leading the Golden Bears, averaging 16.1 points, 1.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists. Moore also leads Cal in three-point shooting percentage at 42 percent.

The Wildcats need to shut him down along with the sophomore big man Ivan Rabb if they hope to win this one. Berkeley has not been very kind to Arizona as of recent, as the Wildcats lost a close game last season up in Haas Pavilion.

Prediction: Cal may likely be one of Arizona’s toughest game yet, and they have the talent to pull out an upset. I still think Arizona wins, but it will be a close one! Arizona 80 Cal 77.

Here’s more information on where you can catch the game on Friday Night:

Date: Friday, December 30th

Time: 8:00 p.m. PST, 9:00 p.m. MST

Location: Haas Pavilion (11,877)

Line: California -1

Television: ESPN2

Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network Arizona Wildcats (Try TuneIn Radio)

Team Records:

  • Arizona 11-2: Lost two games on neutral sites to No. 7 Gonzaga and No. 13 Butler.
  • California 9-3: Lost close game last week to No. 12 Virginia.

Arizona Possible Starting Lineup (best guess):

PG Kadeem Allen

SG Kobi Simmons

SF Rawle Alkins

PF Lauri Marrakenen

C  Dusan Ristic

At Zona Zealots, we are definitely excited to see Arizona kick-off Pac-12 play, and hope for a Wildcat victory! Bear Down, Arizona!

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