Dane Miller’s Pac-12 Men’s Hoops Preview for Jan 26

Stanford renews its rivalry with a much-improved California team in Berkeley tonight

Posted on January 26, 2024


  By Dane Miller, SuperWest Sports

Pac-12A wild two days of Pac-12 Basketball, highlighted by Oregon State’s upset of No. 9 Arizona on Jordan Pope’s three-point buzzer-beater, continues with a rivalry game tonight.

Stanford, currently tied for third place with the Wildcats and Sun Devils at 5-3, visits a much-improved California team hoping to keep pace with second-place Colorado (6-3) and first-place Oregon (6-2).

I preview the contest here and my pick appears at the bottom.

Stanford at California

Friday, January 26
7:00 pm PT, FS1

It’s unusual for the Pac-12 to play a Friday night conference game.

But Stanford and California will be playing in the ACC next season, so any semblance of what’s “usual” can be thrown out of the window.

There probably are not many Pac-12 fans who have closely followed the Bay Area rivalry over the past few seasons, let alone the average college basketball fan.

That means few are aware of the success California has had against its archrival on the hardwood.

Despite the terrible stretches during the Mark Fox era, the Bears are 5-5 against the Cardinal since the start of the 2019-20 season, including a 2-0 mark against them in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Cal has won 3 of the last four in the series at Haas Pavilion and comes into this game with its best team in years.

Jaylon Tyson, Fardaws Aimaq, and Jalen Cone are among the best trio of players in the Pac-12.

Cal center Fardaws Aimaq vs Washington | Cal Athletics

They combine to average 50.8 points per game and each score in different ways. Cone is mostly a three-point shooter, Tyson scores at all three levels, and Aimaq is efficient in the paint.

But Stanford is one of the top three-point shooting teams in the nation and they share the ball at an elite level.

Jerod Haase’s team is No. 13 nationally in assists per game and No. 7 nationally in three-point percentage.

That’s a deadly combination that puts them in a position to beat any opponent on any given night.

Haase’s roster runs solid schemes on the perimeter that generate open looks. The Bears must communicate their switches effectively and rotate with intensity.

And with a variety of players that all can knock down outside shots, there can’t be any lackadaisical effort from any of the Cal defenders on the floor.

But, if the Bears win the rebounding margin and limit their turnovers, Mark Madsen’s group should be in a position to get the job done.


Dane Miller’s Game Picks

2023-24 Week 4 Pac-12 Games


Pick

Stanford at California
Jan 26, 7:00 PM PT
California
 Overall Record 126-52-0 (71%)



—More from Dane Miller—