The Stanford men's basketball team shares fifth place in the Pac-12 Conference with Oregon State heading into Saturday's matchup with visiting California at in Maples Pavilion at 3:30 p.m.
With five games remaining to play in the regular season, the Cardinal (7-6 Pac-12, 16-9 overall) would do well to sweep its next three games, all at home, to put itself in position to receive a first-round bye for the Pac-12 tournament.
California (6-7, 16-10) is playing much better than it was when the Cardinal won in Berkeley earlier this season. The Bears just had a five-game winning streak snapped by No. 9 Utah and Stanford has lost four of its past five.
The Oregon schools visit Maples Pavilion next weekend. The Ducks are a game ahead of Stanford in the standings.
The Cardinal lost to host Colorado, 64-58, on Sunday and senior point guard Chasson Randle, who was the Pac-12's leading scorer a week ago, was held below his average for the second straight game.
Randle has been held to fewer than 20 points in each of his past four games, his longest such streak of the season.
Chasson and fellow seniors Anthony Brown and Stefan Nastic have been the heart and soul for Stanford all season and how they perform down the stretch will go a long way in determining Stanford's fate.
Randle, already the school's top 3-pointer shooter, is looking to move up the all-time points list as well. With 2,142 points, Randle is 177 points shy of Adam Keefe for second all-time and 184 points shy of matching career leader Todd Lichti.
Randle would likely need at least eight games, averaging 23 points per contest, to have a realistic shot at Lichti's mark.
Randle needs two steals to move past Lichti (156) for third on Stanford's all-time list. Keith Ramee is second with 199.
Brown, who was named to the Julius Irving Small Forward Watch List on Wednesday, is also stealthily moving up career lists. He's 165 points away from cracking the school's top 10 in scoring.
Brown is currently in 19th place, with 1,401 points, having just dislodged Landry Fields. He could leap into 15th, passing Brian Welch's total of 1,421 at any time. Brown is also four 3-pointers shy of 200.
Nastic, named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List on Monday, has given the Cardinal a much-needed inside presence as he develops into one of the top centers in the college game. He scored a team-high 24 points in the loss to the Buffaloes.
Nationally No. 18-ranked Stanford has an immediate concern with Sunday's 1 p.m. rematch against visiting California.
The Cardinal took care of the Bears, 59-47, Wednesday night in a game that saw freshman Brittany McPhee perform the duties of energizer as she came off the bench to score nine points.
Stanford found itself in a 13-point hole before McPhee was called upon to ignite the offense and repair the lines of communication.
Stanford (12-3 in the Pac-12, 20-7 overall) needs to be in synch the rest of the way with its looming trip to conference leader Oregon State next week.
The Cardinal needs to win its final three games just to assure itself of a top-four finish and a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament.
Stanford would need some help to gain at least a conference title tie with the Beavers, who have lost once in conference play.