Men's Basketball Picked Fifth In Pac-10 Preseason Poll
Nov. 1, 2007
LOS ANGELES- Stanford has been picked to finish fifth in this year's competitive Pac-10 race according to the preseason media poll, as announced on Thursday morning by the conference office at its annual media day.
The Cardinal, which finished last year 18-13 overall and sixth in the Pac-10 at 10-8, received 205 total points in the poll. Defending conference champion UCLA is again the favorite, totaling 339 points in addition to gathering 33 first-place votes. Washington State is tabbed for second with 273 points and one first-place vote, followed by Oregon in third with 240 and Arizona in fourth with 238.
USC holds down the sixth spot with 184 points. Rounding out the preseason poll is California in seventh (140), Washington in eighth (132), Arizona State in ninth (81) and Oregon State (38).
'We are clearly a much better basketball team that we were last year,' said head coach Trent Johnson. 'We should be a very good defensive team and a very good rebounding team. We need to be more consistent throughout the season whether it's rebounding the ball, shooting the ball, etc. Consistency will be a huge key for us in this league and we need to play extremely well in the non-conference.'
The Cardinal returns 12 letterwinners and its entire starting lineup from last year's squad, which achieved its 14th consecutive postseason appearance. Stanford is coming off an 18-13 overall campaign that ended with a first round loss to Louisville in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinal posted a 10-8 record in Pac-10 play, finishing sixth overall in what was considered by many to be one of the strongest conferences in the country. In addition to an 8-2 start, Stanford cracked the national rankings in late January and recorded impressive wins over the likes of Texas Tech, Virginia, Washington State, Oregon and UCLA.
Several preseason publications have tabbed Stanford as a top-25 club. The preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll supports that theory, with the Cardinal checking in at No. 21. In fact, Stanford is one of six Pac-10 teams that appear in the poll, joining No. 2 UCLA, No. 10 Washington State, No. 13 Oregon, No. 17 Arizona and No. 18 USC. The No. 21 spot represents Stanford's first preseason top-25 ranking since 2005-06, when the Cardinal was No. 13 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls.
The 2007-08 campaign begins Monday, Nov. 5, when Stanford hosts Concordia University in an exhibition game at Maples Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. It marks the first of two home exhibition contests this year, as the Cardinal also squares off against The College of Idaho on Dec. 16. Led by seventh-year head coach Ken Ammann, a member of the Stanford basketball team from 1990-91, Concordia University has reached the NAIA championship game three times in the last five years while claiming a national championship in 2003.
Stanford's season opener is slated for Friday, Nov. 9, against Harvard in the first game of the Basketball Travelers Classic, a three-day tournament that will feature two games each day in a round-robin format. The Cardinal will host Northwestern State on Nov. 10 and conclude the event with UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 11.