Thursday's NCAA Tourney Opener Pits Stanford And Cornell In 3/14 Matchup
March 17, 2008
NCAA Tournament First Round
No. 10/11 Stanford Cardinal (26-7, 13-5 Pac-10)
Cornell Big Red (22-5, 14-0 Ivy League)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PxP: Daniel Novinson, Analyst: Ben Spielberg)
The Opening Tip
The NCAA Tournament is here and Stanford (26-7, 13-5 Pac-10) checks in as the No. 3 seed in the South (Houston) Regional. The Cardinal is making its 16th NCAA Tournament appearance and 13th in the last 14 years. Stanford earned an at-large bid after falling to UCLA in the Pac-10 Tournament title game. The Cardinal is searching for its first NCAA Tournament victory since 2004 and will battle Cornell (22-5, 14-0 Ivy League) on Thursday in an approximate 2 p.m. tip.
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). CBS will televise the game live nationally with a crew of Carter Blackburn and Jay Bilas.
NCAA Tournament First/Second Round Format
Stanford is one of eight teams playing at the Honda Center in Anaheim this weekend as NCAA Tournament first round action gets underway. Two teams will emerge from this weekend's action, advancing to separate regional sites.
Cornell (22-5, 14-0 Ivy League) enters the postseason riding a 16-game winning streak. The Big Red picked up 14 of those wins in conference play, rolling through Ivy League competition with an unblemished 14-0 mark. Cornell, which averages 77.1 points per game, is a sharp-shooting squad that connects on 49.2-percent from the field, 41.4-percent from three-point territory and 76.3-percent from the foul line. The Big Red owns a +1.2 rebounding margin over its opponents, pulling down 33.9 rebounds per contest. Players to watch out for include: Ryan Wittman (15.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 47.5-percent field goals, team-high 76 three-pointers), Louis Dale (13.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, team-best 136 assists, 90.6-percent free throws) and Adam Gore (10.1 ppg, 92.9-percent free throws, 57 three-pointers). Head coach Steve Donahue is in his eighth season at the helm.
Stanford All-Time vs. Cornell
Stanford sports a 2-1 record against Cornell in the all-time series. The two squads last met on Dec. 29, 1994, with the Cardinal posting a 67-55 victory at Maples Pavilion. Six years earlier, Stanford routed Cornell 90-45 in the opening round game of its own Apple Invitational. The Big Red's only win in the series came back on Dec. 28, 1950, when Cornell posted a 59-56 triumph at home.
Stanford All-Time vs. Ivy League
Stanford owns a 27-8 mark against Ivy League schools. That includes wins over Harvard (111-56) and Yale (72-61) this year. Prior to this year, the Cardinal had matched up with an Ivy League school only once in the postseason. Stanford captured the 1942 NCAA championship with a 53-38 victory over Dartmouth in Kansas City, Mo. Stanford has a winning record against every Ivy League school except Penn (0-2) and Princeton (1-3).
Stanford/Cornell Common Opponents
Stanford and Cornell have three common opponents: Siena, Harvard and Yale. Stanford opened the year with a 111-56 rout of Harvard, was upset by Siena 79-67 on the road and rebounded with a 72-61 win over Yale in its next games. Cornell went 5-0 against all of those teams combined, topping Siena 83-77 and sweeping the season series against both Harvard and Yale.
Stanford All-Time In NCAA Tournament
Stanford owns a 19-14 record in NCAA Tournament competition and is making its 16th appearance overall. The Cardinal dropped a 78-58 decision to Louisville in last year's opening round and is winless in its last three NCAA Tournament games. Stanford's most recent NCAA Tournament victory came back on Mar. 18, 2004, in the form of a 71-45 win over Texas-San Antonio in an opening round game. Stanford captured the 1942 championship, reached the Final Four in 1998, advanced to the Elite Eight in 2001 and moved on to the Sweet 16 in 1997.
Breaking Down The Seeding
Stanford has been assigned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in school history. The last time the Cardinal was tabbed a No. 3 came during the 1997-98 campaign, drawing No. 14 College of Charleston as a first-round opponent in Chicago. Stanford went on to reach the Final Four that year, defeating Western Michigan, Purdue and Rhode Island along the way. Stanford was also awarded a No. 3 seed in 1989 but was upset by Siena in an opening round game in Greensboro, N.C.
Stanford vs. NCAA Tournament Teams
The Cardinal has squared off against six teams in this year's NCA A Tournament field, posting an 8-6 record. Stanford is 3-0 against Washington State, 3-0 against Arizona, 1-1 versus USC, 1-1 versus Oregon, 0-1 against Siena and 0-3 against UCLA.
Trent Johnson In The NCAA Tournament
Head coach Trent Johnson is 2-3 in three NCAA Tournament appearances. During the 2003-04 season at Nevada, Johnson led the tenth-seeded Wolf Pack to victories over No. 7 Michigan State and No. 2 Gonzaga before suffering a loss to national runner-up Georgia Tech in the Sweet 16. Johnson guided Stanford to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2007, falling in the first round on both occasions.
Career NCAA Tournament Breakdown
Only three players on the current roster (Taj Finger, Peter Prowitt, Fred Washington) have appeared in more than one NCAA Tournament game during their career. Last year's contest against Louisville served as a Big Dance debut for everyone else. Washington, a member of the 2003-04 squad that finished 30-2, has appeared in four NCAA Tournament games to lead the group. Finger and Prowitt have each played in two contests. In four games, Washington has made 6-10 from the field and is averaging 5.0 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in 14.5 minutes. Brook Lopez (18 points, seven rebounds, 8-15 shooting) and Lawrence Hill (10 points, seven rebounds, 28 minutes) were the only double-figure scorers for Stanford last year against Louisville.
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 season, owning a spot in the top-10 of both polls for five consecutive weeks late in the year.
Trent Johnson Named Finalist For Skip Prosser Man Of The Year Award
In addition to earning Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors, head coach Trent Johnson continues to gain national recognition for leading Stanford to its best season since a 30-2 finish in 2003-04. Johnson was announced as one of 10 finalists for the inaugural Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award. The Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award will be given annually to a division 1 head coach who best represents the high standards of the coaching profession- winning with integrity. The award is named in memory of former Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser, who passed away suddenly on July 26, 2007.
Trent Johnson Guides Cardinal To 26 Wins
Stanford's 26 wins are the most for a Trent Johnson-coached team, surpassing his final season at Nevada when he guided the Wolf Pack to a 25-9 mark. The Cardinal's 13 Pac-10 victories also match Nevada's 13 WAC wins during that same 2003-04 campaign.
26 In The Books, Looking For More
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.
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.
Prior to the start of the Pac-10 Tournament, Stanford was ranked in the top-10 of both national polls (Associated Press, ESPN/USA Today Coaches) for five consecutive weeks. The Cardinal cracked the top-10 on Feb. 4, vaulting to No. 9 in both polls. Stanford peaked at the No. 7 spot on two different occasions. This year's club is the seventh in school history to achieve a top-10 national ranking in both polls at any point during the year.
Cardinal Posts Runner-Up Finish At Pac-10 Tournament
Stanford is now 10-10 all-time in Pac-10 Tournament games after falling to UCLA 67-64 in this year's championship game. The Cardinal, which captured its only title in 2004 with a 77-66 victory over Washington in the final, was making its third conference tournament title game appearance. In its only other Pac-10 Tournament championship outing, Stanford posted a runner-up finish to Arizona in 1989.
Darren Collison scored 28 points and UCLA survived its fourth close call in a week, beating Stanford 67-64 to win the Pac-10 tournament title. The Bruins used a 22-8 run in the second half to earn their 10th victory in a row. Freshman Kevin Love overcame back spasms to score 12 points, giving him double figures in all 34 games he's played this season. Brook Lopez scored 15 points and Anthony Goods added 13 for the Cardinal, which shot 47.9-percent from the field but was outrebounded 43-35 and 21-5 on the offensive glass.
Brook Lopez had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and Stanford beat Washington State 75-68 in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament to continue its domination of the Cougars. Lawrence Hill scored 14 points and Robin Lopez had nine points and eight rebounds for the Cardinal, which defeated Washington State for the third time this year. Mitch Johnson had eight assists for the Cardinal, which outrebounded the Cougars 37-28. Stanford led 34-30 at halftime and cashed in with 25-32 free throws.
Brook Lopez had 20 points and 15 rebounds, including 10 in a second-half spurt that helped Stanford pull away to a 75-64 victory over Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals. Robin Lopez added 14 points while Lawrence Hill, Mitch Johnson and Fred Washington had 11 points each as Stanford placed five players in double-figure scoring for the third time this year. Brook Lopez had 11 defensive rebounds and Johnson added 10 rebounds, helping Stanford dominate the boards, 50-27. Stanford swept Arizona during the regular season by a combined five points, and the third meeting was just as close until the final 11 1/2 minutes.
Cardinal In The Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in rebounding (38.8 rpg) and blocked shots (172). The Cardinal also ranks second in the following categories: field-goal percentage defense (39.4), scoring margin (+10.1) and rebounding margin (+8.0). Mitch Johnson leads the conference in assists per game (4.82) while checking in third in assist/turnover ratio (2.27). Robin Lopez is second in the Pac-10 with 75 blocks. Stanford is also well-represented in the following national categories: rebounding margin (5th), defense (19th), field-goal percentage defense (20th) and scoring margin (27th).
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 18-1 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. Against UCLA on Mar. 15, Robin Lopez moved past Curtis Borchardt (1999-2002) into second place on the all-time Stanford list. Lopez has totaled 75 blocks this year and now has 148 for his career. Next up: Tim Young (1994-99) with 167. Meanwhile, Mitch Johnson has dished out a team-high 159 assists this year to increase his career total to 360. That's good enough for eighth on the all-time list.
Stanford has been impressive on the glass, averaging 38.8 boards per game while limiting the opposition to just 30.8 per contest. Five different players are averaging at least 4.0 rebounds per game, led by an 8.5 clip from Brook Lopez. Stanford is outrebounding its opponents by an average of +8.0 and has only been outrebounded by five teams (Fresno State, California, Washington, USC, UCLA). The Cardinal pulled down 50 rebounds for the second time this year in its win over Arizona in the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals.
Share The Ball, Force Mistakes, Play Defense
Three of Stanford's trademarks this year have been the ability to share the basketball, force opponents into mistakes and play hard-nosed defense. The Cardinal has tallied more assists than its opponent 26 times this year, winning all but two games 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 23 different occasions this year. Finally, Stanford is allowing just 60.6 points per game and 39.5-percent shooting from the field while holding 17 opponents this year to 60 or points or less.
Score At The Half
How will the Cardinal fare against an opponent? Enjoy the first 20 minutes then glance at the scoreboard. Stanford is 21-1 when leading at the half and 4-5 when trailing.
Brook Lopez Carrying The Cardinal
Against Washington State in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals, Brook Lopez poured in 30 points on 11-22 shooting from the field while making 8-10 from the charity stripe in 37 minutes. He also pulled down 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the year. Lopez has been the Cardinal's leading scorer in 18 games this year. Lopez, who has played in 24 games and made 22 starts, is leading the Cardinal in scoring (19.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg) while shooting 46.7-percent from the field and 77.1-percent from the foul line. Lopez has scored in double-figures in 19 straight games and 23 overall.
Robin Lopez Productive In The Post
Robin Lopez has developed into a tremendous rebounder and intimidating defensive presence. Lopez is averaging 10.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game while connecting at a 52.6-percent rate from the field. Lopez has scored in double-figures in 15 games overall, including a career-high 24-point performance against Yale on Nov. 20 that featured 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Running The Point
One of the Cardinal's most consistent performers this season, Mitch Johnson has played in every game and made 32 starts. He has established career-highs in minutes played (31.4), scoring (6.8 ppg), rebounding (4.4 rpg) and field-goal percentage (43.6). Johnson is best known for providing his teammates with scoring chances, as evidenced by a career-best 4.8 assists per game clip. Johnson has scored in double-figures seven times, poured in a career-best 16 points in a win at California on Jan. 26 and dished out at least five assists in a game on 17 different occasions.
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 5-1 in games following a loss. Stanford's 0-2 trip to the Los Angeles schools during the final week of the regular season marked the first stretch of back-to-back losses since an 0-3 finish to the 2006-07 campaign.
Home Sweet Home
Stanford established a program record for home victories in a single season (16) with a 60-53 victory over Washington State on Mar. 1. Prior to that game, the Cardinal had won 14 home contests in a single season five different times, with the 2003-04 squad most recently accomplishing the feat.
Stanford Signs Three For 2008-09
Head coach Trent Johnson has announced the signing of three recruits to national letters of intent: Jeremy Green, a 6-4, 190-pound guard from Austin, Texas (Bowie HS), Jarrett Mann, a 6-5, 190-pound guard from Middletown, Del. (Blair Academy HS) and Miles Plumlee, a 6-9, 215-pound forward from Arden, N.C. (Christ School).
Cardinal Closes Out Summer Italy Trip
The Cardinal completed a seven-game, 11-day summer tour of Italy against a mix of local competition in several different cities. Away from the court, the travel party enjoyed sightseeing in Rome, Florence and Milan while touring The Colosseum, Vatican, Lake Como and attending a social at the residence of U.S. Ambassador Ronald P. Spogli. Stanford finished with a 4-3 record on the trip with several players enjoying impressive performances during that stretch. Among the notables: Lawrence Hill (6 games, 14.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 20-31 FT), Landry Fields (6 games, 13.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 7-17 3FG, 14-21 FT), Brook Lopez (6 games, 13.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Anthony Goods (6 games, 12.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 10-18 3FG) and Kenny Brown (7 games, 6.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 8-10 FT).