Undefeated Stanford, No. 17/14 Arizona State Battle In Pac-10 Opener Friday At Maples
Dec. 31, 2008
Stanford Cardinal (10-0, 0-0 Pac-10)
No. 17/14 Arizona State Sun Devils (11-1, 0-0 Pac-10)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: Mark Friese, Color: Chris Fitzgerald)
The Opening Tip
For the ninth time in school history, Stanford (10-0, 0-0 Pac-10) will enter league play undefeated. The first Pac-10 test will be a tough one, with No. 17/14 Arizona State (11-1, 0-0 Pac-10) serving as the opponent for the conference opener on Friday, Jan. 2, at 7:30 p.m. The Cardinal has opened the year with 10 straight wins in non-conference play and is in the middle of a four-game, eight-day stretch.
Friday's game can be heard live on KTRB AM 860 and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com. Dave Flemming handles play-by-play duties while John Platz offers color commentary. KZSU 90.1 FM provides coverage with Mark Friese (play-by-play) and Chris Fitzgerald (analyst).
Stanford hosts Arizona on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. to wrap up the first weekend of Pac-10 competition. The Cardinal will play four of its next seven games on the road, starting with next week's road trip to the Washington schools.
Scouting No. 17/14 Arizona State
No. 17/14 Arizona State (11-1, 0-0 Pac-10) will be the first top-25 opponent Stanford has faced this year. The Sun Devils have started the year 11-1 for just the second time in 34 seasons and have been a fixture in the national rankings since the beginning of the year. Since an 87-78 loss to Baylor back on Nov. 28, Arizona State has won seven in a row. Friday's contest will be just the second road game the Sun Devils have played this year. Arizona State is averaging 75.3 points per game and shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 75.5 from the foul line. Opponents are averging just 58.0 points per game and shooting 39 percent overall. Keep an eye on: James Harden (23.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 57.8 percent from the field, 83-105 free throws), Jeff Pendergraph (12.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 65.2 percent from the field) and Rihards Kuksiks (10.8 ppg, 52.2 percent from long distance).
Stanford All-Time vs. Arizona State
Stanford holds a 37-27 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 six and 18 of the last 21 contests overall dating back to 1998. Stanford rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit and picked up a 67-52 win at home last year, while Arizona State countered with a 72-68 overtime win in Tempe late in the year for its first win in the series since 2005. Arizona State has not won at Maples Pavilion since Jan. 6, 2005.
Who To Watch Against Arizona State
In six meetings against the Sun Devils, Lawrence Hill is averaging 9.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game thanks to a 43.4-percent clip from the field (20-46). Mitch Johnson is averaging 5.0 points per game while shooting 47.6 percent (10-21) from the field in six contests. Anthony Goods (8-35 shooting in five games) is due for a breakout game.
Stanford In Pac-10 Openers
Stanford is 6-4 in Pac-10 openers over the last 10 seasons. Stanford opened Pac-10 play at home last year against UCLA, falling 76-67. The Cardinal's most recent win in a league lid-lifter came during the 2006-07 campaign, with a 71-60 triumph at Arizona State. Stanford last won its Pac-10 opener at Maples Pavilion during the 2003-04 season, when the Cardinal routed Washington State 73-51. Since the 1978-79 campaign, Stanford owns a 16-14 mark in Pac-10 openers (11-5 at home and 5-9 on the road).
Cardinal Strong In Non-Conference
There is still one non-conference game remaining on the schedule (Feb. 10 against Cal State Bakersfield at home), but Stanford has racked up at least 10 victories agianst non-league competition for the second straight season. The Cardinal posted an 11-1 mark against non-league foes last year.
Cardinal Looks To Stay Perfect
One of six remaining undefeated teams in Division 1 competition as of Dec. 31, Stanford sits atop the Pac-10 standings as the conference's lone unbeaten squad.
Clemson...13-0, 1-0 ACC...vs. East Carolina (Jan. 3)
Illinois State...13-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley...vs. Creighton (Jan. 3)
Pittsburgh...13-0, 1-0 Big East...vs. Georgetown (Jan. 3)
North Carolina...12-0, 0-0 ACC...at Nevada (Dec. 31)
Wake Forest...12-0, 0-0 ACC...at BYU (Jan. 3)
Stanford...10-0, 0-0 Pac-10...vs. Arizona State (Jan. 2)
Stanford's 10-0 start has translated into some early national recognition as the Cardinal first appeared in the receiving votes section of the national rankings last week. In this week's edition, Stanford is receiving 17 votes in the Associated Press poll and six votes in the ESPN/USA Today/Coaches poll.
Fast Start For Stanford
Stanford is off to its best start since winning 26 straight games to open the 2003-04 campaign. With a victory over Arizona State on Friday, Stanford will improve to 11-0 and match the 1920-21 squad led by Walter Powell for the sixth-best start to a season in school history. Also, Stanford's 10-game winning streak is the best since the 26-0 start in 2003-04.