Cardinal and Bears Set To Tag Team USC, UCLA

Rivals Cal and Stanford both got juked at home last week by a feisty Oregon State Beaver team.  Now, both badly need a couple wins to offset that unsightly conference loss.

That opportunity comes this weekend, as the two squads take turns against big program Southern California teams that have seen better days.  

For UCLA, those better days were one year ago. Kevin Love still played for them, they made the Final Four and everything was tasty waves and a cool buzz.

And it’s not as if this year’s team is rotten.  But they rebound poorly in comparison, and they’re stuck in a three-way tie with Cal for second place in the PAC-10.

Cal can get some separation from the Bruins with a win tonight at Pauley Pavilion, where Monty hasn’t lost a game since’97. The Cardinal play the Bruins there Saturday.

The USC Trojans, Stanford’s opponent tonight and Cal ’s opponent Saturday,  are operating at nowhere near full strength.

Guard Dwight Lewis is recovering from a sprained ankle and is questionable.  Forward Taj Gibson is battling pneumonia. And shooting guard O.J. Mayo is hobbled by a contractual obligation with the Memphis Grizzlies and  not available to play.

For the Golden Bears, this road trip is an opportunity to gain ground and establish momentum for their surprising season.

For the Cardinal, it's either no worse than a split or else "Hello, NIT!"

If even.

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