No. 23 Cardinal Prepares For Road Test At Oregon
Jan. 11, 2008
No. 23/23 Stanford Cardinal (13-2, 2-1 Pac-10)
- AT -
Oregon Ducks (11-4, 2-1 Pac-10)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PxP: Ben Spielberg)
The Opening Tip
No. 23/23 Stanford (13-2, 2-1 Pac-10) tries for its first sweep of the Oregon schools since 2006 when its battles Oregon (11-4, 2-1 Pac-10) on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinal will be tested by a offensive-minded Ducks squad that is undefeated in seven home games so far this year at McArthur Court. Both teams picked up wins on Thursday night and are shooting for their third consecutive victory.
Sunday's game can be heard live on KNTS 1220 AM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com. Dave Flemming handles play-by-play duties while John Platz provides color commentary. KZSU 90.1 FM provides coverage with Ben Spielberg on the mic in his first road trip of the year. The contest will also be televised nationally on CBS, with Carter Blackburn (play-by-play) and Bill Raftery (analyst) describing the action.
Oregon (11-4, 2-1 Pac-10) is coming off a 79-70 victory over California on Thursday night at home. The Ducks were ranked in the top-25 for almost two months to begin the year before a 68-62 loss at Oakland on Dec. 22 dropped them from the polls. Oregon, which is 7-0 at home so far, ranks 16th in the country in scoring at 83.1 points per game. Not to mention Oregon is shooting 50.3-percent from the field with all five starters averaging double-figure scoring. Look out for: Malik Hairston (18.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 30-58 from three-point territory, 56.4-percent field goals), Maarty Leunen (15.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 59.1-percent field goals) and Bryce Taylor (14.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 81.1-percent free throws). Head coach Ernie Kent is in his 11th season at the helm.
Stanford All-Time vs. Oregon
Stanford holds an 84-42 record all-time against Oregon. The Cardinal has won 10 of 12 overall dating back to the 2001-02 campaign. The two schools split last year's meetings with wins on their home courts, as Oregon posted a 66-59 victory and Stanford responded with an 88-69 rout. Stanford's last win in Eugene came back on Feb. 2, 2006, when the Cardinal edged the Ducks 57-56. Six of the last 10 meetings in the series have been decided by 10 points or less.
Who To Watch Against Oregon
Brook Lopez was 13-25 from the field last year in two meetings, averaging 16.0 points and 7.5 boards. That included a 20-point, seven-rebound outing at home in which he made 8-14 from the field. Mitch Johnson (7-12 from the field in four games) and Robin Lopez (7-11 from the field in two games) have been solid in limited action. Anthony Goods has yet to find his groove, making just 2-12 with one triple in three games.
Not only does Stanford's 13-2 record represent the best 15-game start during head coach Trent Johnson's tenure, it also signals the program's best 15-game start in four years. During the 2003-04 campaign, Stanford checked in at 15-0 and began the year with a 26-game winning streak.
Leaders On The Cardinal Side
There have been only four instances this season when the game's leading scorer has not come from the Stanford bench. Only O.J. Mayo (USC), Josh Shipp (UCLA), Marcus Hall (Colorado) and Josh Duell (Siena) can claim the distinction of having game-high scoring honors so far this year in games against Stanford. In the rebounding department, only one player (Chris Devine of UC Santa Barbara) has grabbed more boards in a single game.
Making The Wins Count
Prior to a 62-61 victory over Texas Tech on Dec. 22, Stanford's last 13 victories dating back to the 2006-07 campaign had been decided by double-digit margins. Of Stanford's 13 wins so far, 10 have been of the double-digit variety. In fact, seven Cardinal victories this year have been decided by at least 20 points.
Nothing From The Outside
When Stanford held Oregon State to 0-8 shooting from beyond the arc on Thursday night, it marked the first time since Jan. 27, 2005 that an opponent failed to make at least one triple. In that game almost three years ago, Oregon State misfired on five attempts in a 69-65 Cardinal victory at Maples Pavilion.
Defense Key To Early Success
Stanford's outstanding numbers on defense have been well-documented but it's worth another look. In addition to allowing just 56.1 points per game and 38.8-percent shooting from the field, the Cardinal has held 11 opponents this year to 60 or points or less. Opposing squads are averaging almost 14 turnovers per game while dishing out less than 10 assists per contest. Furthermore, only five teams (UCLA, Texas Tech, Yale, Siena, Northwestern) have shot better than 40-percent from the field in a game this year.
Cardinal In Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in rebounding (39.9 rpg), rebounding margin (+10.8) and blocked shots (63). Individually, Robin Lopez has tallied 33 swats and is the league leader in that category. Stanford is also holding foes to 56.1 points per game, a total that ranks third in the conference. Entering the week, the Cardinal was well-represented in the following categories nationally as well: rebounding margin (fourth), defense (10th) and scoring margin (25th).
Stanford's work on the glass has been very impressive. The Cardinal is averaging 39.9 boards per game while limiting the opposition to just 29.1 per contest. Four different players are averaging at least 5.0 rebounds per game, led by a 7.8 clip from Brook Lopez. Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a rebounding margin of +10.8 and has only been outrebounded by one opponent (Fresno State) this year. The biggest discrepancy came in the season opener against Harvard, when Stanford tallied a 50-19 advantage.
Stanford is averaging 72.3 points per game during its 13-2 start. That includes a 111-point outing against Harvard in the season opener, representing the Cardinal's highest point total since a 117-point showing against UC Irvine in 1990. In that game, Stanford led 63-28 at halftime, signaling the first time the Cardinal reached the 60-point mark in any half since getting 65 during the first half at home against New Hampshire on Dec. 29, 1999.
Cardinal Strong In Non-Conference
Stanford's 11-1 record in non-conference competition was the program's best since 2000-01, when the squad was undefeated in 12 games. That's also the last time the Cardinal picked up at least 10 wins against non-league competition. Stanford finished 8-3 in non-league action last year.
Stanford's starters and reserves have been getting their opportunity to make an early contribution. Ten different players are averaging at least 10.0 minutes of playing time per game, with Peter Prowitt (9.1) and Josh Owens (8.3) following close behind. Head coach Trent Johnson has employed five different starting lineups this year, with the combination of Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods, Fred Washington, Lawrence Hill and Robin Lopez posting an 8-1 record.
...And Everyone Scores
Stanford is receiving balanced scoring from its entire roster to begin the year. Starters, reserves, it doesn't matter- everyone is getting into the act. Chalk it up to hot shooting, as five players are shooting at least 50-percent from the field. Eight of the 12 players are averaging at least 5.0 points per game. Stanford has placed at least three different players in double-figure scoring on 10 different occasions this year. Stanford is connecting at a 46.3-percent rate from the field while scoring 72.3 points per game.
Brook Lopez Sharp In Return To Court
Sophomore forward Brook Lopez was deemed academically eligible on Dec. 17 and cleared to return to NCAA competition. Lopez was ruled academically ineligible for the fall quarter back on Oct. 5 and missed the first nine games of the year. In his first six games back, Lopez is averaging 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 45.1-percent (32-71) from the field. He poured in a game-high 20 points in his season debut against Santa Clara on Dec. 19 and notched his first double-double of the year (19 points, 12 boards) versus Fresno State on Dec. 29. A 7-0 sophomore from Fresno, Calif., Lopez averaged 25.2 minutes, 12.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game last season.
Robin Lopez Productive In The Post
Known best for his emphatic shot-blocking ability and intimidating presence, sophomore center Robin Lopez has developed into a consistent scoring option and tremendous rebounder for the Cardinal. He has scored in double-figures in six games, including a career-high 24-point performance against Yale on Nov. 20 that included 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Lopez has also reached double-digit board totals three times and has been the Cardinal's leading rebounder on four different occasions. He ranks third in scoring (9.5 ppg), second in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and is shooting 53.8-percent.
Number 100 Comes Against Santa Clara
After setting the freshman single-season blocked shot record last year (73), Robin Lopez is off to another quick start. Thanks to his team-high 33 swats, Lopez' career total now stands at 106. That's good for fifth behind Howard Wright's 121 in the school record books. Lopez reached the century mark during Stanford's 74-48 win over Santa Clara on Dec. 19. Lopez' 33 blocks this year are equal to the total (33) of Stanford's 15 opponents combined.
It's All Goods
Anthony Goods has been perhaps the Cardinal's most consistent offensive weapon so far. The junior guard is second on the squad in scoring at 12.9 points per game and is shooting 42.4-percent from the field and 40.4-percent from beyond the arc with a team-best 36 triples. He has scored in double-figures 11 times this year, including each of the last nine games. Goods' best effort to date was a 23-point outing against UC Santa Barbara that earned him the MVP award of the Basketball Travelers Classic.
Floor Leader Helping In Other Areas
Junior guard Mitch Johnson has enjoyed a solid start to the season. Johnson is best known for providing his teammates with scoring opportunities, as evidenced by a team-best 4.8 assists per game clip. But he is also scoring and helping out on the glass. Johnson has scored in double-figures three times this year, surpassing his complete output from last season in that category. He is averaging 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Johnson also leads the club in assists with 18.
Fifth The Spot In Challenging Pac-10
Stanford was picked to finish fifth in this year's competitive Pac-10 race according to the preseason media poll. 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. The Cardinal returns 12 letterwinners and its entire starting lineup from last year's NCAA Tournament squad.
Score At The Half
How will the Cardinal fare against an opponent? Enjoy the first 20 minutes then glance at the scoreboard. Stanford is 12-0 when leading at the half and 1-2 when trailing.