Men's Hoops Begins Final Road Trip At No. 21/21 Arizona State Thursday
March 3, 2009
Stanford Cardinal (16-11, 5-11 Pac-10)
No. 21/21 Arizona State Sun Devils (21-7, 10-6 Pac-10)
Westwood One Radio (PBP: Ted Robinson, Color: Bill Frieder)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (16-11, 5-11 Pac-10) enters the final week of the regular season still in search of its first Pac-10 road win. The Cardinal gets two more opportunities this week, beginning with No. 21/21 Arizona State (21-7, 10-6 Pac-10) on Thursday. It's been two months since these two schools hooked up, with the Sun Devils cruising to a 90-60 victory in the conference opener for both programs.
Thursday's game can be heard live on KTRB AM 860 and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com, featuring the chemistry-rich tandem of Dave Flemming (play-by-play) and John Platz (analyst). The contest will be televised by FSN Arizona, with Daron Sutton (play-by-play) and Tom Kuyper (analyst) providing coverage. There is also national radio coverage on Westwood One, with Ted Robinson (play-by-play) and Bill Frieder (analyst).
Scouting No. 21/21 Arizona State
A fixture in the national rankings throughout the year, No. 21/21 Arizona State (21-7, 10-6 Pac-10) enters the week tied for third in the Pac-10. The Sun Devils have lost back-to-back games only twice this year, but the second such skid occurred last week in 0-2 road swing against the Washington schools. The first of those two overtime losses, a 73-70 setback at Washington, snapped a five-game winning streak. Arizona State is averaging 69.4 points per game and shooting 48 percent from the field and 73.6 from the foul line. Opponents are averaging just 59.1 points per game and shooting only 40.5 percent overall. Keep an eye on: James Harden (20.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 50.8 percent from the field, 167-223 free throws), Jeff Pendergraph (13.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 66.5 percent from the field) and Rihards Kuksiks (10.4 ppg, 46.5 percent from long distance).
Stanford All-Time vs. Arizona State
Stanford holds a 37-28 edge over Arizona State in the all-time series, which originated back in 1957. The Cardinal has dominated this matchup, winning five of the last seven and 18 of the last 22 contests overall dating back to 1998. In the Pac-10 opener for both teams back on Jan. 2, Arizona State routed Stanford 90-60 for its first win at Maples Pavilion since 2005. Last year's series was split, with each team protecting its home court. The game in Tempe was a nailbiter, with ASU prevailing 72-68 in overtime.
Who To Watch Against Arizona State
In seven meetings against the Sun Devils, Lawrence Hill is averaging 9.7 points thanks to a 45.6-percent clip from the field (26-57). He is also hauling down 4.7 rebounds per game. Mitch Johnson is averaging 5.2 points per game while shooting 46.4 percent (13-28) from the field in seven contests. Anthony Goods (10-47 shooting in six games) is due for a breakout performance.
This Trip, Last Year
This road trip last year resulted in a split, with both games decided by five points combined. Stanford opened the swing at Arizona State, and James Harden scored 23 points to lead the Sun Devils to a 72-68 overtime victory despite a 30-point effort (10-17 field goals, 10-13 free throws) by Brook Lopez. Two days later, the Cardinal withstood a 31-point performance (16-16 free throws) from Arizona's Jerryd Bayless and needed a last-second defensive stop from Robin Lopez to preserve a 67-66 road win.
This is the final week of Pac-10 regular season action, with the conference tournament set for next week at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Cardinal checks in at 5-11 with two games left to play and is ticketed for its first-ever appearance in the play-in round regardless of its outcomes this week. Stanford's seeding has yet to be determined but the Cardinal will not be the No. 10 seed. The winner of the No. 7/No. 10 matchup faces the No. 2 seed, while the winner of the No. 8/No. 9 contest plays the No. 1 seed.
Cardinal Secures 16th Straight Winning Season
Despite being saddled with its first losing record in Pac-10 play since 1992-93, Stanford managed to extend a pair of lengthy streaks with its 75-63 victory over USC last week. The win over the Trojans clinched a winning record for the 16th consecutive season and gave the Cardinal at least 16 wins for the 16th straight year. Keep on winning games, and Stanford can extend another streak to 16 years in a row: qualifying for postseason play.
Breaking Through On The Road
Stanford, 0-7 on the road this year in Pac-10 play, has dropped nine consecutive road games in conference play dating back to a 67-66 win at Arizona on Feb. 16, 2008.