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Cal Men’s Basketball Preview: Golden Bears Return to Defend Haas From the UCLA Bruins

California looks to prevent a sweep by their southern U.C. rivals

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at California
Freshman forward Connor Vanover averaged 14 points per game for California in the last three matches.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

After dropping a close call to the Oregon State Beavers Saturday, the California Golden Bears (5-18, 0-11 Pac-12) return to Haas Pavilion Wednesday night to prevent a regular-season sweep by the UCLA Bruins (12-12, 5-6 Pac-12). UCLA has won its last four games against California.

California Head Coach Wyking Jones will rely on his starters — all of whom have been averaging about 10 points per game or more. Sophomore forward Justice Sueing continues to play his best, leading his side with an average 14.9 points per game.

On a 12-match losing streak, the Golden Bears have cut their opponent’s winning margin to about seven points in the last three matches — a vast improvement from the January blowout defeats of 16 points on average. Key to the turnaround efforts has been California starters Justice Sueing, Connor Vanover, Paris Austin, Darius McNeill and Matt Bradley, who have all contributed about 10 points or more in each of the last three contests.

UCLA has yet to win in February — a trend California hopes will continue for the Bruins. But with UCLA ranked No. 2 in the conference in scoring with 78.1 points per game, an upset bid by California remains unlikely. The Golden Bears are averaging just 70 points this season.

Projected UCLA Bruins Starters

  1. Kris Wilkes, guard: 17.4 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 1.7 assists per game
  2. Jaylen Hands, guard: 12.4 points per game, 3.7 rebounds per game, 6.5 assists per game
  3. Prince Ali, guard: 10 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 1.6 assists per game
  4. Moses Brown, center: 11 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, 0.3 assists per game
  5. Jalen Hill, forward: 3.9 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, 1.4 assists per game

Key UCLA Bruins Reserves

  1. Chris Smith, guard: 6.4 points per game, 4 rebounds per game, 1.3 assists per game
  2. Jules Bernard, guard: 6.1 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game
  3. David Singleton, guard: 4.4 points per game, 1.1 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game
  4. Cody Riley, forward: 6.9 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game

Following the Bears

The contest tips off from Haas Pavilion Wednesday at 7 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks. The play-by-play analysis is also available on the California Golden Bears Sports Network on KGO 810 AM, also accessible through the TuneIn radio streaming application.