No. 14 Stanford, No. 9 Washington State Clash In Pullman
Feb. 1, 2008
No. 14/14 Stanford Cardinal (17-3, 6-2 Pac-10)
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No. 9/9 Washington State Cougars (17-3, 5-3 Pac-10)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PxP: Ben Spielberg)
The Opening Tip
Winners of four straight, No. 14/14 Stanford (17-3, 6-2 Pac-10) closes out the first half of conference play on Saturday afternoon against No. 9/9 Washington State (17-3, 5-3 Pac-10) in Pullman, Wash. The contest matches two of the nation's top defensive teams so points might be at a premium. Stanford can match its win total from last year (18) with a victory on Saturday.
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 also provides coverage as Ben Spielberg (play-by-play) has the call. The contest will also be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net, with Barry Tompkins (play-by-play) and Dan Belluomini (analyst) describing the action.
Scouting No. 9/9 Washingon State
One of the nation's most consistent teams throughout the year has been No. 9/9 Washington State (17-3, 5-3 Pac-10). The Cougars began the year with a 14-game winning streak that translated into top-5 national ranking. It's been a different story lately though, as Washington State is just 3-3 in its last six games. Washington State, 9-1 at home, allows just 54.7 points and 27.5 rebounds per game while limiting opponents to 41.0-percent shooting from the field. Keep an eye on: Derrick Low (13.6 ppg, 55-137 three-pointers), Aaron Baynes (11.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 59.3-percent field goals) and Kyle Weaver (11.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 87 assists, 35 steals).
Stanford All-Time vs. Washington State
Stanford holds the edge at 63-55 in a series that dates back to 1916-17. The Cardinal has won seven of the last 10 meetings overall. Both teams defended their home courts last year, with Stanford claiming a 71-68 overtime win at home and Washington State notching a 58-45 victory on the road. Stanford's most recent victory in Pullman was a defensive-minded 39-37 decision back on Feb. 25, 2006.
Who To Watch Against Washington State
A matchup against Washington State might be exactly what it takes to get Anthony Goods back on track. In four career games, Goods is 16-32 from the field and averaging 11.5 points per game to go along with nine treys. One of those triples was a game-winner last year with 3.3 seconds left in a 71-68 overtime triumph at Maples Pavilion. In seven games, Taj Finger is 11-20 from the field and averaging 3.4 points per game.
Through 20 Games
Not only does Stanford's 17-3 record represent the best production through 20 games during head coach Trent Johnson's tenure, it also signals the program's best 20-game start in five years. In 2003-04, Stanford began the year with a 26-game winning streak.
Year...Record Through 20 games...Final Record2003-04...20-0, 11-0 Pac-10...30-2, 17-1 Pac-102004-05...12-8, 6-4 Pac-10...18-13, 11-7 Pac-102005-06...12-8, 8-4 Pac-10...16-14, 11-7 Pac-102006-07...14-6, 6-3 Pac-10...18-13, 10-8 Pac-102007-08...17-3, 6-2 Pac-10...- - -
The ability to bounce back from a tough loss has allowed Stanford to maintain its success. The Cardinal has won at least four straight games this year on three different occasions. It's the first time that has happened since the 2002-03 campaign, when Stanford pieced together a winning streak of at least four games on four different occasions.
Brook Lopez First To 30
Brook Lopez became the first Cardinal player to reach the 30-point plateau in over a year when he poured in a career-high 31-points against Washington on Thursday. Prior to that game, Anthony Goods was the last player to turn the trick, scoring 30 points (including the game-winning triple) in a 71-68 overtime win over Washington State on Jan. 13, 2007.
Stanford's current ranking of No. 14 in both national polls is the club's highest mark since earning a No. 13 preseason ranking in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches polls at the start of the 2005-06 campaign. It's the highest in-season national ranking since the memorable 2003-04 season, when Stanford eventually reached the No. 1 spot after compiling a 26-game winning streak to begin the 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 12-0 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 seven teams (California, Oregon, UCLA, Texas Tech, Yale, Siena, Northwestern) have shot better than 40-percent 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 17 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. It's been a different story for opponents, 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.
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) have grabbed more boards in a single game.
Cardinal In Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in rebounding (39.7 rpg) and blocked shots (95). Robin Lopez has tallied 44 swats and leads the league. Stanford is also holding foes to 57.2 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 (17th).
Stanford's work on the glass has been very impressive. The Cardinal is averaging 39.7 boards per game while limiting the opposition to just 29.7 per contest. Five different players are averaging at least 4.0 rebounds per game, led by an 8.4 clip from Brook Lopez. Stanford trails only North Carolina (11.0) and UCLA (10.5) in rebounding margin at +10.0 and has only been outrebounded by one opponent (Fresno State) so far. The biggest discrepancy came in the season opener against Harvard, when Stanford held a 50-19 edge.