Cal Begins Four-Game Homestand with Arizona, Arizona State

Jan. 28, 2002

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Arizona Wildcats (13-6, 6-3) at California Golden Bears (14-4, 5-3)
Thursday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
TV: KRON TV (Channel 4)Radio: KABL (960 AM)

Arizona State Sun Devils (11-7, 4-5, at Stanford Jan. 31) at California
Saturday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
TV: KRON TV (Channel 4)
Radio: KABL (960 AM)

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Cal returns home to Haas Pavilion to face its third consecutive ranked opponent when the 18th-ranked Arizona Wildcats come to town. The Bears are returning from a weekend split in Los Angeles against USC and UCLA and now have the benefit of four consecutive home games. After Arizona, Cal hosts Arizona State, Oregon and Oregon State in Haas Pavilion.

At 5-3 in Pac-10 action, the Bears are just one game out of first place in the loss column. But with such a closely bunched group at the top, Cal also finds itself tied with Stanford for fifth place. Still, the Bears have set themselves up in good position for a second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance with a 14-4 overall record and a 5-3 league mark. In addition, Cal is 29th in both the RPI and Sagarin Ratings this week.

In Arizona, the Bears are playing their third straight ranked opponent for the first time since the 1996 Maui Invitational when Cal opened the season against No. 25 Iowa (won, 75-59), No. 2 Kansas (lost, 85-67) and No. 15 Massachusetts (won, 59-55).

Individually, junior forward Joe Shipp continues to lead the Bears' offensive attack with 15.1 ppg, almost double his career rate of 8.8 ppg entering the season. Shipp has scored at least 20 points four times, including 20-points, 9-rebound effort at USC last week.

In the middle, freshman center Jamal Sampson has averaged a double-double over his last four games - 11.8 ppg and 10.8 ppg. He had his best game of the year vs. Washington State (15 points, 17 boards) and added 11 points (all in the second half) and 10 rebounds in the win at USC.

Junior Brian Wethers has also emerged as a more consistent threat in recent weeks. He paced Cal in rebounding in three of Cal's first four Pac-10 games and soared to a season-high 24 points against the Trojans. Despite not starting a game since Dec. 1, Wethers ranks second on the squad with 10.1 ppg overall and 11.3 ppg in league contests.

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