No. 11 Stanford Prepares For Pac-10 Tournament Matchup
March 11, 2008
Pac-10 Tournament Quarterfinals
No. 11/11 Stanford Cardinal (24-6, 13-5 Pac-10)
Arizona Wildcats (18-13, 8-10 Pac-10) -or-
Oregon State Beavers (6-24, 0-18 Pac-10)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PxP: Daniel Novinson, Analyst: Ben Spielberg)
The Opening Tip
The postseason kicks into gear this week, as No. 11/11 Stanford (24-6, 13-5 Pac-10) heads back to Los Angeles for the Pac-10 Tournament. The Cardinal has locked up the No. 2 seed and faces the winner of Wednesday's play-in game between Arizona (18-13, 8-10 Pac-10) and Oregon State (6-24, 0-18 Pac-10) on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Stanford is looking to get back in the win column for the first time since Mar. 1.
Thursday's game can be heard live on KNTS 1220 AM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com. David Flemming handles the play-by-play duties while John Platz offers analysis. KZSU 90.1 FM provides coverage with Daniel Novinson (play-by-play) and Ben Spielberg (analyst). FSN will televise the game live nationally.
Arizona (18-13, 8-10 Pac-10) is hoping to reach the NCAA Tournament for the 24th consecutive season. Since a four-game winning streak to end the month of Janury, the Wildcats have stumbled a bit with seven losses in their last 10 games. Arizona, which has compiled a 7-7 record away from home, is shooting 48-percent from the field and averaging 71.8 points per game. Players to watch include: Jerryd Bayless (20.3 ppg, 56-136 three-pointers, 113 assists, 83.1-percent free throws), Chase Budinger (17.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 67-181 three-pointers) and Jordan Hill (13.0 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 61.6-percent field goals).
Stanford All-Time vs. Arizona
Arizona owns a 48-27 all-time advantage in the series, which dates back to the 1937-38 campaign. Prior to this year, the Wildcats had won six in a row and seven of the last 10 meetings. However, Stanford picked up its first season sweep of Arizona since 2003-04 with a 56-52 win at home back on Jan. 17 before a 67-66 triumph in Tucson on Feb. 16. Close games have been the norm, as 16 of the last 18 contests have been decided by 10 points or less.
Who To Watch Against Arizona
Lawrence Hill has performed well, averaging 10.4 points per game on 50-percent (27-54) shooting from the field in seven contests. Brook Lopez has scored more points (80) and made more baskets (29) against the Wildcats than any other Pac-10 club, averaging 20.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in four contests while shooting 49.1-percent. In eight career games, Taj Finger is averaging 5.7 points and 4.3 rebounds off the bench. And don't forget about Kenny Brown, who torched Arizona for 22 points on 9-15 shooting (including four triples) in an overtime thriller last year.
Scouting Oregon State
Oregon State (6-24, 0-18 Pac-10) enters the Pac-10 Tournament on a 20-game losing streak. The Beavers' last victory came back on Dec. 19 in the form of a 65-56 win over Northern Colorado. Oregon State is 3-12 away from home this year. The Beavers average 60.1 points per game and shoot 37.5-percent from the floor. However, they also average 13.5 turnovers per contest and have been outrebounded by a -2.7 margin. Keep an eye on: Marcel Jones (10.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Seth Tarver (9.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 40 three-pointers) and Josh Tarver (6.9 ppg, 75 assists, 36 steals).
Stanford All-Time vs. Oregon State
Oregon State owns a 68-58 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to the 1915-16 campaign. However, Stanford has won six in a row and 17 of the last 18 meetings overall since 1999. The Cardinal has experienced little trouble with the Beavers recently as 14 of its last 17 victories have come by double-digits. Stanford swept both matchups this year, winning 66-46 on the road and 71-56 at Maples Pavilion.
Who To Watch Against Oregon State
Lawrence Hill has averaged 15.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in six career games. Hill has made more buckets (33) and three-pointers (12) against the Beavers than any other Pac-10 club. He did most of his damage last year, with a 24-point, eight-rebound performance on the road and a 23-point, seven-rebound effort at home. In four games, Brook Lopez is averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 58.8-percent from the field. Fred Washington is averaging 6.5 points in eight career games while connecting at a 61.2-percent clip from the field.
Stanford All-Time In Pac-10 Tournament
Stanford owns an 8-9 all-time record in Pac-10 Tournament games. The Cardinal, winless in its last three Pac-10 Tournament games, last notched a victory at the tourney back on Mar. 10, 2005, in a 60-58 triumph over Washington State. Stanford captured the tournament crown back in 2004, posting a 3-0 mark. Stanford is 0-4 all-time against Arizona in Pac-10 Tournament games and has never faced Oregon State in the event.
Cardinal Well-Represented Among All-Pac-10 Awards
Brook Lopez earned a spot on the five-member All Pac-10 First Team while Trent Johnson was named Coach of the Year, as Stanford was well-represented among the 2007-08 Pac-10 men's basketball award winners. Anthony Goods, Mitch Johnson and Robin Lopez all received Honorable Mention recognition, giving the Cardinal four all-league selections for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign. Robin Lopez earned a spot on the All-Defensive squad while Brook Lopez and Fred Washington received Honorable Mention accolades. Johnson is the third Stanford coach to be named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, joining Dick DiBiaso (1976) and four-time winner Mike Montgomery (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004).
Brook Lopez, Trent Johnson Earn National Recognition
In addition to conference accolades, Brook Lopez and head coach Trent Johnson were also recognized on a national level. Lopez was named an all-district performer by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) in District IX, covering the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Meanwhile, head coach Trent Johnson was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division I District 14 Coach of the Year. Johnson has directed Stanford to its best season during his tenure and best since a 30-2 finish in 2003-04. Picked to finish fifth in the conference preseason media poll, the Cardinal wrapped up the regular season in second place at 13-5 overall. Johnson's squad has also been a fixture in the national rankings all seaon, owning a spot in the top-10 of both polls for five consecutive weeks late in the year.
24 In The Books, Looking For More
Having already surpassed last year's win total (18), Stanford is searching for its ninth 25-win season in program history and first since a 30-2 finish in 2003-04.
Shaking It Off
Stanford has demonstrated the ability to bounce back after a tough defeat, one of several key factors in the team's success. The Cardinal is 4-1 in games following a loss so far. Stanford's current two-game losing streak represents the first time the the club has lost back-to-back games since an 0-3 finish to the 2006-07 campaign.
Cardinal In The Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in rebounding (38.7 rpg) and blocked shots (154). The Cardinal also ranks second in the following categories: field-goal percentage defense (39.5), three-point field-goal percentage defense (32.3) and rebounding margin (+8.0). Mitch Johnson leads the conference in assists per game (4.67) while checking in third in assist/turnover ratio (2.30). Robin Lopez is second in the Pac-10 with 66 blocks. Stanford is also well-represented in the following national categories: rebounding margin (6th), defense (13th), field-goal percentage defense (21st) and scoring margin (27th).
Conference Streak Continues
Stanford picked up its 10th Pac-10 win of the year on Feb. 16 with a 67-66 win at Arizona. The Cardinal has now notched at least 10 conference victories for the 15th straight season.
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 17-0 when connecting at a 40-percent or better rate overall while holding its foes to a percentage under 40. Furthermore, only 11 teams have shot better than 40-percent in a game this year.
Milestones In The Making
One year after establishing the freshman single-season record for blocked shots (73), Robin Lopez is climbing the charts again. With a team-best 66 swats this year, he now ranks third all-time in the Cardinal record books with 139. Next up: Curtis Borchardt (1999-02) with 146. Meanwhile, Mitch Johnson has dished out a team-best 140 assists this year to increase his career total to 341. That's good enough for eighth on the all-time list.
Share The Ball, Force Mistakes
Two of Stanford's trademarks this year have been the ability to share the basketball and force opponents into making mistakes. The Cardinal has tallied more assists than its opponent 23 times this year, winning all but one 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 on 22 different occasions this year.
Stanford has been impressive on the glass, averaging 38.7 boards per game while limiting the opposition to just 30.6 per contest. Five different players are averaging at least 4.0 rebounds per game, led by an 8.2 clip from Brook Lopez. Stanford now ranks sixth in the nation in rebounding margin at +8.0 and has only been outrebounded by four opponents (Fresno State, California, Washington, USC). The biggest discrepancy came in the season opener against Harvard, when Stanford held a 50-19 edge.
Defense Clearly The Key To Success
Stanford's outstanding numbers on defense are well-documented but it's worth another look. In addition to allowing just 60.0 points per game and 39.5-percent shooting from the field, the Cardinal has held 17 opponents this year to 60 or points or less.