ASU Close but No Cigar In Big Loss Up in Berkeley -- but Pac-10 Tourney Around Corner

One thing was clear during halftime of the tightly contested Arizona State-California men's basketball game up in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon:

The Sun Devils were up by one point, but it was about the shakiest lead you could imagine.

ASU's three-point shooters, Derek Glasser, Ty Abbott and Rihards Kuksiks, were going to have to light it up for the final 20 minutes for their team to have a chance at beating the Golden Bears and taking the lead in this most unusual of big-time conference races.

Yes, a win for the Devils would have put the team in the unlikely position of taking the Pac-10 conference lead going into the final weekend of the regular season.

But that wasn't to be; not even close.

ASU scored but four points in the last 11 minutes (two on a meaningless dunk in the final seconds) as Cal clinched at least a tie for the championship with a 62-46 win.

So let's look forward, because the Devils still have a "forward."

The Arizona schools play the Southern Cal schools this weekend at home, with seeding in the Pac-10 tourney in Los Angeles essentially at stake.

ASU will probably have to win the postseason tournament to gain a berth in the upcoming Big Dance (NCAA tournament) unless it beats USC and UCLA this weekend, wins a couple of games in the Pac-10 tourney, and then loses again to Cal in the finals.

We are going out to LA for the tournament and will blog about the locals' (ASU and, gasp, University of Arizona) outcomes.