Stanford Earns Eleventh Straight Trip to the NCAA Tournament
March 13, 2005
Indianapolis, In - Stanford Basketball is heading back to the NCAA Tournament.
For a school record eleventh straight year and 13th overall, the Cardinal men's basketball team has earned a berth to the 2005 NCAA Division I Tournament. The Cardinal, an eighth-seed, will face the Bulldogs of Mississippi State, the ninth-seed, on Friday (time to determined on Monday morning) in Charlotte, NC. The Stanford-Mississippi State winner will then play on Sunday against the winner of the Duke-Delaware State game. Duke is the top seed in the Austin Regional while Delaware State is seeded 16th.
'I am really happy for the team,' said first year head coach Trent Johnson. 'It speaks volumes for this team to sustain that level of play (with past NCAA Tournament teams) with all the transitions the team had to make this year. This group never lost confidence. We're excited to be playing. I think we have come a long way with our defense and our ability to take care of the ball.'
The Cardinal, despite key injuries and only nine healthy players, chalked up a 18-12 overall record and a third place finish in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 mark. The Cardinal beat NCAA tournaments teams such as top-seeded Washington, third-seeded Arizona, eleventh-seeded UCLA twice and 16th seeded Montana.
'We have showed our toughness all year,' said senior center Rob Little. 'We have worked hard, and that is a sign of a good, solid basketball program.'
Stanford is now fifth on the active list of collegiate teams that has made consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. The Cardinal will be making its eleventh straight trip to the NCAA's. Arizona is first with 21 straight trips followed by Kansas with 16, and Cincinnati and Kentucky with 14 each.
'Give credit to all the guys for getting us into the tournament,' said junior forward Matt Haryasz. 'If we play good defense, we will put ourselves into a good position to win.'
Nick Robinson, a senior guard who will be playing in his 110th game when he starts against Mississippi State, said 'We will have to be ready to compete in every game, If not, we're one and done.'
Mississippi State is 22-10 overall and finished with a 9-7 record in the Southeastern Conference. The Bulldogs have face two Stanford opponents. Mississippi State lost to Arizona, 68-64, in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim last December, and dropped a 64-63 decision to Tennessee in Knoxville. Stanford split with Arizona, and lost a 69-57 decision to Tennessee in the first round of the Maui Invitational in November.
All-American forward Lawrence Roberts leads MSU in scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (10.9 rpg). Roberts has been to the free throw line 269 times in 30 games.
The two teams have only met once on the basketball court. During the 1999-00 season, Stanford scored a 76-56 victory at the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland.