Cal Basketball: Pac-12 Picks -- UCLA at Oregon State a Big Game? Who Knew?

Oregon State expects Tres Tinkle, left, to return from an ankle injury to face UCLA.Photo by Troy Wayrynen, USA Today

Cal, hoping to end four-game slide, faces tough challenge from visiting Arizona

The weekend’s biggest game in the Pac-12 will take place Sunday evening in Corvallis.

When was the last time you could say that?

UCLA, 3-0 in the conference after a miracle comeback at Oregon, visits Gill Coliseum, where Oregon State is gunning for its first 3-0 Pac-12 start since 1992-93.

Meanwhile, Cal tries to end a four-game skid and secure its first Pac-12 victory of the season when Arizona visits on Saturday night.

Here are our picks for Saturday and Sunday, and as you can see, we have been nearly perfect so far:

Week: Jake 6-0, Jeff 5-1

Season: Jeff 14-2, Jake 12-4

Saturday, Jan. 12

-- Arizona State (11-4, 2-1) at Stanford 7-8, 0-3), 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)

Jeff: The Sun Devils were a mess for 14 minutes at Cal, then scored 69 points the rest of the way. If they generate that pace for an entire game, it’s 106 points. Pick: Arizona State

Jake: Arizona State is a confounding team, which can beat Kansas one night, then lose to Princeton at home in its next game. Remy Martin is symbolic of the Sun Devils. He went scoreless against Colorado, then scored 24 in the next game, a 14-point win over Cal on Wednesday. Stanford is 5-1 at home, the lone loss being Wednesday’s five-point defeat against Arizona. Pick: Stanford

-- Washington State (7-8, 0-2) at Utah (7-8, 1-2), 5 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)

Jeff: Utes have beaten Cougars nine times in a row and seven straight in SLC. This WSU team won’t be re-writing a lot of history. Pick: Utah

Jake: After the Cougars got blown out at Colorado, allowing the Buffaloes to shoot 54.7 percent from the floor, there is little reason to believe they can win at Utah, especially with WSU’s leading scorer, Robert Franks Jr. (22.1 points per game), expected to miss his fifth straight game (hip) on Saturday. Utah’s leading scorer, Sedrick Barefield, can’t afford to go 2-for-10 like he did in the loss to Washington. Pick: Utah

-- Washington (11-4, 2-0) at Colorado (10-5, 1-2), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

Jeff: Huskies showed they’re not a one-note team at Utah. Star sophomore Jaylen Nowell shot 3 for 14, and still UW won by 16. Picking a visiting team to win at altitude makes me nervous, but . . . Pick: Washington

Jake: The Huskies were impressive in handing Utah its first home loss of the season on Thursday, and they did it with their top scorer, Jaylen Nowell going 3-for-14 from the field. But the second leg of the Rocky Mountain road trip is always tougher.  Colorado is just 3-5 away from home, but is 7-0 at home. Pick: Colorado

-- Arizona (12-4, 3-0) at Cal (5-10, 0-3), 7:30 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks)

Jeff: Arizona lost by double digits in its only two games against Top-25 opponents. Why do I bring that up here? Beats me. Bears played well for a while vs. ASU. Will need complete game in this one. Pick: Arizona.

Jake: If Paris Austin plays against Arizona after missing the past two games with an ankle injury, the Bears have a chance against Arizona, which has won five in a row but is just 2-1 in true road games, including a tight 75-70 win at Stanford on Saturday.  Pick: Arizona

Sunday, Jan. 13

-- USC (9-7, 2-1) at Oregon (9-6, 0-2), 5 p.m. (ESPNU)

Jeff: The preseason Pac-12 favorites lost the kind of game Thursday vs. UCLA that could wreck a season. Ducks aren’t ready to cash in quite yet. Pick: Oregon

Jake: How Oregon lost to UCLA in overtime on Thursday, after leading by 13 points with 2:35 left in regulation and by nine with a minute remaining, is hard to fathom, and coach Dana Altman called it a “gut punch.” USC was unable to win at Oregon State even though the Beavers were without their top scorer, Tres Trinkle. Pick: Oregon.

-- UCLA (10-6, 3-0) at Oregon State (10-4, 2-0), 7 p.m. (FoxSports1)

Jeff: Bruins showed some road moxie with comeback from nine points in final minute of regulation before beating Oregon in overtime. But Beavers beat UCLA at Gill Coliseum a year ago and have won four of the past six vs. Bruins in Corvallis. Gary Payton will be smiling after this game. Pick: Oregon State

Jake: UCLA is 3-0 under Murry Bartow, including the amazing comeback win at Oregon on Thursday. But the Beavers are going for their first 3-0 conference start in 26 years, and Tres Trinkle, the team leader in scoring, rebounding and assists, is expected to be back against the Bruins after sitting out Thursday’s overtime victory over USC with an ankle injury. Pick: Oregon State

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