Stanford Tries To Stay Unbeaten Sunday At Colorado State
Dec. 9, 2008
Stanford Cardinal (4-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
Colorado State Rams (3-5, 0-0 Mountain West)
The Opening Tip
Playing its first contest since a 76-62 win over Colorado back on Nov. 29, Stanford (4-0) puts its undefeated record on the line Sunday evening against Colorado State (3-5, 0-0 Mountain West). The Cardinal will be playing just its second road game of the year and the first since winning at Yale in the season opener.
Sunday's game can be heard live on KTRB AM 860 and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com. Dave Flemming handles play-by-play duties while John Platz offers color commentary. The game will also be televised nationally on CBS College Sports, with Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Pete Gillen (color) handling the broadcast chores.
Time for some home-cooking. Beginning with a midweek contest against Northern Arizona on Dec. 17, Stanford will play six of its next seven games at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal is 3-0 on its home court so far.
Scouting Colorado State
Colorado State (3-5, 0-0 Mountain West) squares off against in-state rival Colorado on Wednesday night before hosting Stanford. After opening the year with a pair of victories, Colorado State has dropped five of its last six games. Winless on the road and 3-3 at home, the Rams will not play at home again until Jan. 10 after Sunday's game against Stanford. Colorado State wrapped up last year at 7-25 overall and finished last in the Mountain West with an 0-16 mark. Players to keep an eye on this year include: Marcus Walker (18.0 ppg, 17 assists), Andy Ogide (13.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 57.5 percent from the field and Andre McFarland (13.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 20-35 three-pointers).
Stanford All-Time vs. Colorado State
Stanford is 5-2 against Colorado State in the all-time series, which originated with a 32-24 Ram victory during the 1932-33 campaign. The Cardinal has claimed the last five meetings, including a 73-53 triumph last year at Maples Pavilion. Prior to that contest, Stanford and Colorado State had not faced off since 1988.
Cardinal Looks To Stay Perfect
With a victory on Sunday, Stanford will start the year with five straight victories for the first time since the 2003-04 squad opened the season riding a 26-game winning streak.One of 20 undefeated teams remaining in Division 1 competition, Stanford sits atop the Pac-10 standings as the conference's lone unbeaten squad.
Stanford Opening Up On Offense
Coming into this year, head coach Johnny Dawkins promised a more up-tempo offensive attack. And so far, he's been right on. Through four games, Stanford leads the Pac-10 in scoring 82.5 points per game and ranks 16th in the nation in that same category. Stanford has scored at least 75 points in four straight games, representing the first time that has happened since a four-game unbeaten stretch in December of 2002.
Cashing In At The Charity Stripe
Getting to the line is one thing, but for the most part the Cardinal has converted on its free throw opportunities with a 77.1 percent clip. In fact, Stanford is 84-109 from the charity stripe and has attempted 49 more freebies then its opponents (36-60). Landry Fields (9-14), Anthony Goods (22-24), Mitch Johnson (11-14) and Lawrence Hill (14-21) are all above 64 percent while Josh Owens has been impressive at 19-23 and was perfect in his first 15 chances to begin the year.
Dialing Long Distance
Stanford has made 32 three-pointers and is shooting 41.6 percent from beyond the arc, totals that rank third in the Pac-10. Anthony Goods has been the leading sharpshooter so far, connecting on 13-28 attempts. Meanwhile, opponents have made just 29.3 percent from three-point territory. Stanford has made at least one triple in 224 straight games.
Share The Ball, Force Mistakes
Two of Stanford's trademarks have been the ability to share the basketball and force opponents into making mistakes. The Cardinal has tallied more assists than its opponent in all four games and leads the Pac-10 in turnover margin with a +6.0 clip. It's been a different story for opponents, as Stanford has forced at least 15 turnovers in every game.
Battle Of The Boards
One of the top rebounding teams in the nation last year with nearly 40 boards per game, Stanford is averaging 32.5 rebounds so far in four contests. Not that there have been many shots to clean up, as Stanford is shooting 46.1 percent from the field while opponents are connecting at a 51.2 percent rate. In fact, Stanford has been held to under 35 rebounds for four consecutive games for the first time since a stretch in February of 2006, when the Cardinal pulled down 31 against Arizona State (Feb. 16), 27 versus Arizona (Feb. 19), 31 against Washington (Feb. 23) and 34 against Washington State (Feb. 25).
Throws, Then Threes
In addition to the up-tempo offense, Stanford's first two home games provided some excitement in that the club flirted with a pair of school records. In a 105-83 win over Cal State Northridge on Nov. 18, Stanford finished 40-47 from the foul line and threatened single-game school records for makes (44) and attempts (62). In a 76-57 triumph over Air Force on Nov. 26, Stanford knocked down 12 three-pointers (nine in the first half) to finish three triples shy of matching the school standard of 15.
Senior Starters Pace Offense
A total of 97 games passed before Stanford received at least 10 points apiece from Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods and Lawrence Hill in the same game. The senior trio finally accomplished the feat in a 75-67 season-opening win at Yale, with Hill leading all scorers with 22, Goods adding 19 and Johnson chipping in with 11. In the Cardinal's next game against Cal State Northridge, the group was at it again with Goods scoring a game-high 25 points and Hill and Johnson adding 14 each. Through four games, Goods is Stanford's leading scorer at 19.8 ppg, Hill ranks second at 17.5 ppg while Johnson is fifth at 6.3 ppg.
Delivering The Goods
Anthony Goods has emerged as Stanford's top scoring threat, averaging a team-best 19.8 points per game in four starts. He is shooting 43.1 percent overall but has been even more impressive with team-high marks from three-point territory (13-28, 46.4 percent) and the free throw line (22-24, 91.7 percent). Goods followed a 25-point outing against Cal State Northridge with a 20-point effort against Air Force, representing the first time in his career he reached the 20-point plateau in back-to-back games.
Hill Returning To All-League Form
Another early-season positive has been the performance of Lawrence Hill, an All-Pac-10 selection two years ago as a sophomore when he averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Hill ranks second on the club in scoring (17.5 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg). In the season opener at Yale, Hill notched a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds and his production has continued to be a major plus for Stanford.
Fields, Owens Excelling In Starting Roles
Landry Fields and Josh Owens have been penciled into the starting lineup for the first time in their careers and the results have been solid so far. After coming off the bench in his first 63 games, Fields is averaging 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game so far while shooting 55.6 percent overall. Fields matched a career-high with 18 points against Air Force on Nov. 26. After averaging just 5.8 minutes of playing time last year, Owens has emerged as a force for the Cardinal in the paint. He is averaging 14.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while establishing career-high totals in points (21), rebounds (8), field goals (8) and minutes (33) in a win over Colorado on Nov. 29.