The California Golden Bears will play the San Diego State Aztecs first in the four game Las Vegas Invitational Tournament featuring the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Richmond Spiders. Cal and SDSU will tip off at 9 pm PT on Thanksgiving night, November 26th, while Richmond and WVU will play at 2 pm PT the same day. The winners will meet in a championship game the next day (Friday) at 7:30. All games will be telecast on Fox Sports 1. The losers will face off at 5.
The date and time has also been confirmed for Cal's trip to Virginia to play the Cavaliers. Cal will match up on December 22nd in Charlottesville at 6 p.m. Pacific. The game will also be telecast on ESPN2.
SDSU is the strong favorite to win the MWC. They boasted a 27-9 record, earning an 8 seed in the NCAA tournament. They knocked off St. Johns before losing to eventual champion Duke. However, the Aztecs lost 3 of their top 4 scorers on an already subpar offense. Steve Fischer has a history of running a successful program so you can never underestimate what his team can do. The Aztecs return their leading scorer Winston Shepard, while gaining a four star guard Jeremy Hemsley.
The last time these two teams met was down in San Diego, when the Aztecs won a close one 64-63 during the 2011 season.
Virginia is coming off perhaps their most successful season in the modern era. Tony Bennett guided Virginia to an ACC championship and a top five ranking much of the year before bowing out in the second round of the tournament. After that great of a season, Virginia is on the short list of true national title contenders.
Virginia will return the favor by playing Cal in Haas Pavilion in the 2016-17 season.
Cal is coming off a disappointing 18-15 season in the first year of the Cuonzo Martin era. Although they weren't great last year, Cal is expected to be a national contender after securing an impressive recruiting class. Martin was able to get two top ten recruits in local star Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown. Rabb is an athletic big that can grab rebounds and can score with a smooth shot or attacking the rim. However, he is a little small after only weighing in at 210 pounds. Jaylen Brown brings an athletic build to the table at 6'6 and 222 pounds. He has the ability to play 1-4, along with the fact that he can get to the rim at ease and defend anyone on the court. Along with the two freshmen, the Bears return one of the best backcourts in the country. Led by Tyrone Wallace, Jabari Bird and Jordan Matthews the Bears will get ready to face their first real test as the super hyped 2015-2016 season starts.