Stanford Battles Texas Friday In NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
March 25, 2008
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
Stanford Cardinal (28-7, 13-5 Pac-10)
Texas Longhorns (30-6, 13-3 Big 12)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PxP: Daniel Novinson, Analyst: Neil Berman)
Westwood One (PxP: TBA, Analyst: TBA)
The Opening Tip
For the first time since 2001, Stanford (28-7, 13-5 Pac-10) has punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16. The Cardinal picked up its first tourney victory in four years with a 77-53 rout of Cornell and followed it up with a thrilling 82-81 overtime win over Marquette in the second round. Now it's off to the South Regional in Houston, where Stanford will battle Texas (30-6, 13-3 Big 12) on Friday evening for a spot in the regional championship.
Friday'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 Neil Berman (analyst). Westwood One will have the national radio call while CBS televises the game live nationally.
NCAA Tournament Regional Format
Stanford is one of four teams playing at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, this weekend as NCAA Tournament South Regional action is underway. One team will emerge from this weekend's action, advancing to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
Ranked No. 7 in both national polls last week, Texas (30-6, 13-3 Big 12) is one of only three schools to advance to the Sweet 16 in five of the last seven years (Duke and Kansas are the others). Texas, the region's No. 2 seed, pounded Austin Peay 74-54 in the first round before following that with a 75-72 victory over Miami in the second round. The Longhorns enter Friday's matchup having won 14 of their last 16 contests. One of those losses came against Kansas in the Big 12 championship game back on Mar. 16. Texas, 6-2 on neutral courts this year, averages 75.5 points and 38.1 rebounds per game. The Longhorns shoot 45.3-percent from the field while allowing opponents to connect at just a 38.8-percent rate. Players to keep an eye on include: D.J. Augustin (19.2 ppg, 166-213 free throws, 209 assists, 44 steals), A.J. Abrams (16.6 ppg, team-best 111 three-pointers, 56 steals) and Damion James (13.2 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 51 blocked shots). Head coach Rick Barnes is in his 10th season at the helm.
Stanford All-Time vs. Texas
Friday's winner will claim a 2-1 edge in the series. Stanford notched a 72-46 home victory back on Dec. 22, 1962, in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs. Texas registered an 83-75 overtime win on Dec. 1, 2001, at the Dell Classic 4 Kids in Chicago.
Stanford All-Time vs. Big 12
Stanford owns a 23-17 all-time mark against Big 12 competition. In fact, only two programs (Kansas 8-2) and Kansas State (1-0) have winning records against Stanford. Stanford won both of its games against Big 12 opponents this season, defeating Colorado and Texas Tech on the road. The Cardinal holds a 2-1 record against Big 12 foes in NCAA Tournament action, with its most recent victory coming in the form of an 80-67 triumph over Oklahoma during the first round in 1997.
Stanford/Texas Common Opponents
Stanford and Texas have three common opponents: Colorado, Texas Tech and UCLA. The Cardinal finished 2-3 against this group, posting road wins against Colorado (67-43 on Dec. 2) and Texas Tech (62-61 on Dec. 22) in non-conference play while suffering three tough losses to UCLA (on each team's court and in the Pac-10 Tournament title game). The Longhorns produced a 3-1 mark against that same trio. Texas upset UCLA 63-61 at Pauley Pavilion back on Dec. 2, edged Colorado 69-67 at home on Jan. 19 and split the regular season series against Texas Tech as each team won on its home court.
Stanford All-Time In NCAA Tournament
Stanford owns a 21-14 record in NCAA Tournament competition and is making its 16th appearance overall. Prior to a 77-53 victory over Cornell in the first round, the Cardinal was winless in its last three NCAA Tournament contests with its most recent victory coming in the form of a 71-45 triumph over Texas-San Antonio back on Mar. 18, 2004, in the first round. 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.
28 In The Books, Looking For More
Stanford's 28 victories rank third-best in school history, matching the 1941-42 squad that finished 28-4 en route to capturing the NCAA championship. 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.
Year....Overall Record....Conference Record....Postseason Finish
2000-01....31-3....16-2 Pac-10....NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
2003-04....30-2....17-1 Pac-10....NCAA Tournament Second Rd.
1997-98....30-5....15-3 Pac-10....NCAA Tournament Final Four
2007-08....28-7....13-5 Pac-10....- - -
1941-42....28-4....11-1 PCC....NCAA Champions
1999-2000....27-4....15-3 Pac-10....NCAA Tournament Second Rd.
1998-99....26-7....15-3 Pac-10....NCAA Tournament Second Rd.
1988-89....26-7....15-3 Pac-10....NCAA Tournament First Rd.
1936-37....25-2....10-2 PCC....- - -
Trent Johnson Guides Cardinal To 28 Wins
Stanford's 28 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.
Trent Johnson In The NCAA Tournament
Following Saturday's 82-81 victory over Marquette in the second round, head coach Trent Johnson is now 4-3 in four 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.
NCAA Tournament Second Round
Stanford 82, Marquette 81 (ot) - Anaheim, Calif. - Mar. 22
Brook Lopez made a baseline leaner with 1.3 seconds left to lead Stanford past Marquette 82-81 in overtime, advancing to the round of 16 for the first time since 2001. Brook Lopez finished with 30 points, one shy of a career high. The bucket came on Mitch Johnson's career-high and school-record 16th assist. Brook Lopez scored eight of Stanford's 11 points in overtime as the Cardinal took advantage of a big size difference. Brook Lopez was an effective counter to Marquette's Jerel McNeal, who scored a career-high 30 points, and hit three 3-pointers in overtime. The Cardinal shot 46.7-percent from the field, made 19-28 from the foul line and also received 18 points and nine boards from Robin Lopez.
NCAA Tournament First Round
Stanford 77, Cornell 53 - Anaheim, Calif. - Mar. 20
Cornell couldn't see the basket through Stanford's tall trees, making the Cardinal's defensive strategy look downright genius in the brain game of the NCAA tournament. Kenny Brown scored 18 points and Stanford earned its first NCAA tournament win since 2004, routing Cornell 77-53. Stanford shot 55.4-percent from the field compared to a 30.5-percent clip from Cornell, as the Cardinal built a commanding 38-17 halftime lead. Throw in a 47-25 rebounding edge and a 44-17 points in the paint advantage and Stanford cruised to an easy victory. Robin Lopez chipped in with 14 points and five blocks while Taj Finger tallied 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
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. The next day, Johnson was announced as one of 10 finalists for the inaugural Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award. The award is 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.
He Always Bounces Back
Cornell accomplished a rare feat in its first round contest against Stanford- limiting Brook Lopez to a single-digit scoring total. Against the Big Red, Lopez picked up three quick fouls and was unable to get on track going just 1-2 from the field with four points in 15 minutes. Lopez has been held to a single-digit point total 12 times in his career. In the 12 games that follow a single-digit outing, he is averaging 16.3 points per game while shooting 51.9 from the field.
Records Fall In Win Over Marquette
Stanford's 82-81 win over Marquette last weekend produced several school NCAA Tournament records. Brook Lopez established new standards in points (30) and field goals (10) and his 20 shot attempts now rank second. Mitch Johnson dished out a school-record 16 assists and that total also equaled the second-most assists in NCAA Tournament history. Johnson and Anthony Goods controlled the backcourt for the Cardinal, establishing records in minutes played with 44 and 41, respectively. As a team, Stanford's 23 assists rank second all-time in the school record books.
Career NCAA Tournament Breakdown
Prior to this year, only three players on the current roster (Taj Finger, Peter Prowitt, Fred Washington) had appeared in more than one NCAA Tournament game during their career. In three NCAA Tournament contests, Brook Lopez is averaging 17.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 51.3-percent overall. Robin Lopez is averaging 11.6 points per game and shooting 65.2-percent from the field to go with nine blocks in three games. Taj Finger (69.2-percent in four games), Kenny Brown (58.8-percent in three games) and Fred Washington (50.0-percent in six games) are all shooting at least 50-percent.
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 19-1 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.
Cardinal Finds Scoring Balance
Stanford has placed at least three different players in double-figure scoring on 19 different occasions this year. Five different players reached double-figures in the Cardinal's Pac-10 Tournament victory over Arizona on Mar. 13, representing the third time that has occurred this year (five against Northwestern State on Nov. 10 and five against Harvard on Nov. 9).
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.
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 83 blocks this year and now has 156 for his career. Next up: Tim Young (1994-99) with 167. Meanwhile, Mitch Johnson has dished out a team-high 180 assists this year to increase his career total to 381. That's good enough for eighth on the all-time list.
Cardinal In The Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in rebounding (39.1 rpg), field-goal percentage defense (39.3) and blocked shots (183). The Cardinal also ranks second in rebounding margin (+8.0) and third in defense (61.0). Mitch Johnson leads the conference in assists per game (5.14) while checking in second in assist/turnover ratio (2.40). Robin Lopez is second in the Pac-10 with 83 blocks. Stanford is also well-represented in the following national categories: rebounding margin (5th), defense (20th), field-goal percentage defense (13th) and scoring margin (26th).
Stanford has been impressive on the glass, averaging 39.1 boards per game while limiting the opposition to just 31.1 per contest. Five different players are averaging at least 4.0 rebounds per game, led by an 8.1 clip from Brook Lopez. Stanford is outrebounding its opponents by an average of +8.0 and has only been outrebounded by six teams (Fresno State, California, Washington, USC, UCLA, Marquette).
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 28 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 24 different occasions this year. Finally, Stanford is allowing just 61.0 points per game and 39.3-percent shooting from the field while holding 18 opponents this year to 60 or points or less.
Leave No Doubt
17 of Stanford's 28 victories have come by double-digits, including nine in a row to begin the year. The Cardinal has also won nine games by at least 20 points.
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 19 games this year. Lopez, who has played in 26 games and made 24 starts, is leading the Cardinal in scoring (19.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg) while shooting 46.9-percent from the field and 78.2-percent from the foul line. Lopez has scored in double-figures in 24 games overall.
Robin Lopez Productive In The Post
Robin Lopez has developed into a tremendous rebounder and intimidating defensive presence. Lopez is averaging 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game while connecting at a 54.2-percent rate from the field. Lopez has scored in double-figures in 17 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 34 starts. He has established career-highs in minutes played (31.3), scoring (6.7 ppg), rebounding (4.9 rpg) and field-goal percentage (43.3). Johnson is best known for providing his teammates with scoring chances, as evidenced by a career-best 5.1 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 19 different occasions.
Score At The Half
How will the Cardinal fare against an opponent? Enjoy the first 20 minutes then glance at the scoreboard. Stanford is 22-1 when leading at the half and 5-5 when trailing.
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 6-1 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 set a 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 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.
Cardinal Posts Runner-Up Finish At Pac-10 Tournament
Stanford is 10-10 in Pac-10 Tournament games after a 67-64 loss to UCLA in this year's championship. The Cardinal, which claimed its only title in 2004, was making its third title game appearance. Stanford posted a runner-up finish to Arizona in 1989.