Jan. 23, 2008
No. 20/21 Stanford Cardinal (15-3, 4-2 Pac-10)
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California Golden Bears (11-6, 2-4 Pac-10)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PxP: Daniel Novinson, Analyst: Ben Spielberg)
The Opening Tip
The fourth week of conference play features the first of two matchups between rivals No. 20/21 Stanford (15-3, 4-2 Pac-10) and California (11-6, 2-4 Pac-10). Saturday's tilt takes place in Berkeley and represents the start of three straight road games for the Cardinal. Coming off a home sweep of the Arizona schools, Stanford jumped back into the national polls and is a half-game back of the Pac-10 lead.
Saturday'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 Daniel Novinson (play-by-play) and Ben Spielberg (analyst). The game will also be televised on Comcast, with Greg Papa (play-by-play) and John Lambert (analyst) serving as the broadcast team.
California (11-6, 2-4 Pac-10) closes out a three-game homestand on Saturday against its Bay Area rival. The Golden Bears have dropped two in a row and four of their last five since a 10-2 start. In five of California's six losses on the year, the Golden Bears have either been ahead, tied or within two points in the final three minutes but unable to pull out a victory. California is averaging 79.5 points per game while shooting 48.4-percent from the field and 75.7-percent from the foul line. Look out for: Ryan Anderson (21.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 45.8-percent three-pointers), Patrick Christopher (16.5 ppg, 38-percent three-pointers) and DeVon Hardin (9.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 28 blocked shots).
Stanford All-Time vs. California
In a series that dates back to the 1913-14 campaign, California owns a 137-109 edge. However, Stanford has won seven of the last 10 meetings. Each squad won on the road last year, with Cal stealing a 67-63 victory at Maples Pavilion and Stanford using a 90-71 rout to get even exactly one month later. The Golden Bears last defeated the Cardinal at Haas Pavilion back on Feb. 9, 2006 in the form of a 65-52 decision.
Who To Watch Against California
In four career games, Lawrence Hill is averaging 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest while making 14-27 from the field. Fred Washington has poured in 7.8 points per game in five appearances. Anthony Goods owns an 8.6 scoring average in three games but his two three-pointers represent his lowest total against any Pac-10 squad. Brook Lopez is shooting 11-22 from the field and scored 23 points in a pair of games last year.
The ability to shoot at least 40-percent from the field and hold opponents to under that same mark has been a key to victory for the Cardinal. Stanford is 11-0 this year when connecting at a 40-percent or better rate from the field while holding the opposition to a percentage under 40. Furthermore, only six teams (Oregon, UCLA, Texas Tech, Yale, Siena, Northwestern) have shot better than 40-percent from the field in a game this year.
Share The Ball, Force Mistakes
Two of Stanford's trademarks this year have been the ability to share the basketball and force its opponents into making mistakes. The Cardinal has tallied more assists than its opponent 15 times this year, winning every game when that's the case. The tone was set in the season opener, when Stanford dished out 25 assists that led to 43 buckets in a 111-56 pounding of Harvard. Opponents have not had as much luck, as Stanford has forced at least 10 turnovers in every game this year except against Oregon on Jan. 13 and Siena on Nov. 17. Coincidentally, both of those contests resulted in losses.
Defense Clearly The Key To Success
Stanford's outstanding numbers on defense have been well-documented but it's worth another look. In addition to allowing just 56.4 points per game and 38.7-percent shooting from the field, the Cardinal has held 13 opponents this year to 60 or points or less. Opposing squads are averaging over 13 turnovers per game while dishing out less than 10 assists per contest.
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 two players (UC Santa Barbara's Chris Devine and Arizona's Jordan Hill) has grabbed more boards in a single game.
Cardinal In Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in rebounding (39.4 rpg), rebounding margin (+10.4) and blocked shots (80). Individually, Robin Lopez has tallied 37 swats to claim the league lead. Stanford is also holding foes to 56.4 points per game, good for second in the conference. Entering the week, the Cardinal was well-represented in the following national categories as well: rebounding margin (3rd), defense (5th) and scoring margin (20th).
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 15 wins so far, 11 have been of the double-digit variety. In fact, seven Cardinal victories this year have been decided by at least 20 points.
Stanford's work on the glass has been very impressive. The Cardinal is averaging 39.4 boards per game while limiting the opposition to just 29.1 per contest. Four different players are averaging at least 4.7 rebounds per game, led by an 8.3 clip from Brook Lopez. Stanford leads the Pac-10 with a rebounding margin of +10.4 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.
The offense is doing its part also at a clip of 70.8 points per game. 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 scoring 65 during the first half at home against New Hampshire on Dec. 29, 1999.