With three weeks left in the Pac-12 regular season, the possibilities for the Cal and Stanford men’s basketball teams seem to be growing, not shrinking.
For Cal (18-7, 8-4), tied for third with Arizona State after a road sweep in Washington, there suddenly is a path opening to the conference championship.
And for Stanford (16-8, 7-5), still residing in the upper division of a conference getting increased respect from the bracketology crowd, the road to its first NCAA tournament bid in six seasons has become less cluttered.
But it all starts this week with UCLA.
The 23rd-ranked Bruins (20-5, 9-3) visit Cal on Wednesday and Stanford on Saturday. UCLA was impressive in beating both Bay Area schools in Los Angeles a month ago, but has shown vulnerability on the road in losses at Utah and Oregon State.
If the Bears or Cardinal can hold serve at home, the race at the top tightens.
Cal’s win over then-unbeaten Arizona demonstrated the Bears can play with anyone in the Pac-12, when properly inspired. They should be plenty motivated against UCLA, given what’s at stake.
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