Stanford Arrives In Houston; Prepares For Sweet 16 Date With Texas
March 27, 2008
(Mitch Johnson, Taj Finger, Anthony Goods, head coach Trent Johnson)
(A.J. Abrams, D.J. Augustin, Justin Mason, head coach Rick Barnes)
STANFORD PROBABLE STARTERS
TEXAS PROBABLE STARTERS
HOUSTON- After arriving in Houston yesterday evening, the Stanford men's basketball team made its first appearance at Reliant Stadium on Thursday to participate in an open practice followed by a media interview session at the NCAA Tournament South Regional.
The Cardinal was the first team to take the court for its scheduled practice, open to media and the public. Stanford players and head coach Trent Johnson then spent the next hour conducting interviews.
Stanford (28-7, 13-5 Pac-10) has punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001. The Cardinal picked up its first tourney victory in four years with a 77-53 rout of Cornell last Thursday and followed it up with a thrilling 82-81 overtime win over Marquette two days later in the second round.
That sets up Friday's battle against Texas (30-6, 13-3 Big 12), with the winner earning a berth in Sunday's South Regional championship against Memphis/Michigan State. The Longhorns are one of just three schools to advance to the Sweet 16 in five of the last seven years (Duke and Kansas are the others). Texas, the region's No. 2 seed, pounded Austin Peay 74-54 in the first round before following that with a 75-72 victory over Miami in the second round.
The Longhorns enter Friday's matchup having won 14 of their last 16 contests. One of those losses came against Kansas in the Big 12 championship game back on Mar. 16. Texas, 6-2 on neutral courts this year, averages 75.5 points and 38.1 rebounds per game. The Longhorns shoot 45.3-percent from the field while allowing opponents to connect at just a 38.8-percent rate.
Friday's winner will claim a 2-1 edge in the series. Stanford notched a 72-46 home victory back on Dec. 22, 1962, in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. Texas registered an 83-75 overtime win on Dec. 1, 2001, at the Dell Classic 4 Kids in Chicago.
Stanford and Texas have three common opponents: Colorado, Texas Tech and UCLA. The Cardinal finished 2-3 against this group, posting road wins against Colorado (67-43 on Dec. 2) and Texas Tech (62-61 on Dec. 22) in non-conference play while suffering three tough losses to UCLA (on each team's court and in the Pac-10 Tournament title game). The Longhorns produced a 3-1 mark against that same trio. Texas upset UCLA 63-61 at Pauley Pavilion back on Dec. 2, edged Colorado 69-67 at home on Jan. 19 and split the regular season series against Texas Tech as each team won on its home court.
Stanford's 28 victories rank third-best in school history, matching the 1941-42 squad that finished 28-4 en route to capturing the NCAA championship. Having already surpassed last year's win total (18), Stanford has established its ninth 25-win season in program history and first since a 30-2 finish in 2003-04.