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Arizona State vs. California,
01/01/2017 22:00 EDT,
Score: 65 - 81
Point Spread: -9/-106 California
8* California (10:00 ET): For Arizona State, this is the dreaded "second road game in three days" spot that all Pac 12 teams will face at one time or another during the course of the conference schedule. Considering the Sun Devils just pulled off an upset at Palo Alto, beating Stanford 98-93 as 6.5-pt dogs on Friday, a letdown is all but inevitable tonight in Berkeley. Conversely for Cal, this is a chance to atone for an outright loss to Arizona (were 2.5-pt favorites) on Friday (also a five-point game). The Bears have actually now lost two in a row at home, but considering who the losses were to (Virginia & Arizona) and the fact they were close, I am unconcerned. Prior to the B2B losses, Cal had won 27 in a row at Haas Pavilion. I'll lay the points w/ them here.
Though Cal has a poor ATS record overall this season (4-9), I'm proud to say that I was on them in two of the wins and covers. The first was an 86-61 rout of Cal Davis. The second came a week later and also a lopsided result, 81-55 over Cal Poly. There is no shame in losing to Virginia and Arizona, two of the best teams in the country, by a combined nine points even at home. They played both tough. Against Virginia, it was a tie game (22-22) at the break and they never trailed by more than five in the second half. As most opponents do, the Bears struggled to shoot the ball against the Cavaliers. The Arizona loss was more disappointing as they led by 13 at one point before wilting late. Again, poor shooting was the culprit. But after shooting 36% from the floor in B2B games, I look for the offense to bounce back here against an ASU team that is giving up 82.5 PPG on 46.7% shooting.
The Sun Devils are just 3-11 ATS when off a conference win the last two seasons, so there's a history of failing in this situation. In the case of their 98-93 win at Stanford on Friday, they got a career-high 30 points from Torian Graham and a season-high 25 points from Tra Holder. That won't be duplicated here, nor will the massive shooting discrepancy they held over the Cardinal from behind the three-point line (54% to 33%). I've gone over the talent on this Cal roster previously and I like this team quite a bit. I have them rated 4th in the Pac 12 (behind UCLA, Arizona and Oregon) while ASU is third worst. The Bears are the top defensive team in the league (only 59.9 PPG allowed) and have Ivan Raab, who is coming off yet ANOTHER double-double (16 pts, 16 rebounds). 8* California