No. 14/14 Stanford Begins Road Trip At Washington
Jan. 29, 2008
No. 14/14 Stanford Cardinal (16-3, 5-2 Pac-10)
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Washington Huskies (12-8, 3-4 Pac-10)
The Opening Tip
The first half of conference play wraps up this weekend when No. 14/14 Stanford (16-3, 5-2 Pac-10) closes out a three-game road stretch against the Washington schools. Winners of three in a row, the Cardinal opens the week in Seattle against Washington (12-8, 3-4 Pac-10) on Thursday night. Two days later, Stanford battles No. 9/9 Washington State (17-2, 5-2 Pac-10) in Pullman. Heading into the weekend, Stanford and Washington State are tied for second place in the Pac-10 standings at one game behind current leader UCLA (6-1).
Thursday'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.
After losing its first three conference games, Washington (12-8, 3-4 Pac-10) has rebounded with three wins in its last four Pac-10 contests. The Huskies have been a streaky team all season, recording three separate winning streaks of at least three games and three separate losing streaks of at least two games. Washington, 10-2 at home, averages 73.8 points and 37.6 rebounds per game. The Huskies shoot 46.3-percent from the field but only 59.9-percent from the foul line. Players to watch include: Jon Brockman (19.1 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 55.8-percent field goals), Ryan Appleby (10.3 ppg, 36-84 from three-point territory) and Justin Dentmon (9.4 ppg, 53 assists, 21 steals).
Stanford All-Time vs. Washington
Stanford owns a 67-59 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to the 1915-16 campaign. Both programs have enjoyed recent success, essentially alternating wins over the last 12 meetings for a 6-6 mark on both sides. Despite the similar statistics, the difference has been Stanford's inability to come away with a win in Seattle. The Cardinal's last win in Seattle came back on Feb. 14, 2002 in the form of a 91-65 victory. Each squad won on its home court last year.
Who To Watch Against Washington
Robin Lopez has scored more points (24) against Washington in two meetings than any other Pac-10 club. However, his six rebounds are also the fewest against any other team in the conference. Anthony Goods has averaged 7.5 points in four meetings. In four games, Mitch Johnson has averaged 4.0 points and 3.7 assists against the Huskies. Taj Finger has been effective in six games, making 5-10 from the field for a total of 15 points.
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 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 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 16 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.
Shutting Down The Main Threat
The stingy defense has also been effective when it comes to shutting down an opponent's leading scorer. Whether it's an individual assignment or combination of several players, Stanford has routinely been able to shut down an opponent's main scoring threat. Consider the following examples when an opponent's top scorer was held in check:
Date- Opponent.....Leading Scorer.....Entering Game.....Actual ProductionNov. 24- Colorado State.....Stuart Creason.....13.3 ppg.....8 points (4-11 field)Dec. 2- Colorado.....Richard Roby.....14.6 ppg.....7 points (3-10 field)Jan. 3- UCLA.....Kevin Love.....16.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg.....15 points, 7 reboundsJan. 5- USC.....O.J. Mayo.....20.6 ppg.....14 points (5-19 field)Jan. 10- Oregon State.....Seth Tarver.....13.4 ppg.....7 points (2-7 field)Jan. 17- Arizona.....Jerryd Bayless.....19.7 ppg.....9 points (3-12 field)Jan. 19- Arizona State.....James Harden.....18.8 ppg.....16 points (4-10 field)Jan. 26- California.....Ryan Anderson.....21.9 ppg.....11 points (4-10 field)
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 57.5 points per game and 39.2-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.