Men's Hoops Opens Pac-10 Road Play At Washington Thursday
Jan. 6, 2009
Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 1-1 Pac-10)
Washington Huskies (10-3, 1-0 Pac-10)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (11-1, 1-1 Pac-10) hits the road for the first time in Pac-10 play this weekend, facing off against the Washington schools. First up is a contest against Washington (10-3, 1-0 Pac-10) on Thursday, Jan. 8, at 7:30 p.m. The Cardinal shook off a 90-60 loss to No. 17/14 Arizona State in its Pac-10 opener with a 76-60 victory over Arizona two days later to earn a home split.
Thursday'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. The game will also be televised on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, with Ted Robinson (play-by-play) and Kris Weems (analyst) providing coverage.
Stanford completes its first Pac-10 road trip on Saturday, Jan. 10, when it faces Washington State (8-5, 0-1 Pac-10) in a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Washington (10-3, 1-0 Pac-10) enters the week riding an eight-game winning streak. Seven of those victories came on the Huskies' home court and the most recent win was a 68-48 pounding of Washington State in the Pac-10 opener for both teams. Washington, which finished 16-17 last year and eighth in the conference at 7-11, plays four of its next six games at home. The Huskies average 76.8 points per game, allow opponents to score at a 63.5 clip and shoot 46.4 percent from the field. Washington leads the country in rebounding margin (+11.8) and is pulling down 42.8 boards per game. Players to watch include: Isaiah Thomas (15.1 ppg, 71.1 percent free throws, 41 assists), Jon Brockman (16.0 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 56.1 percent from the field) and Justin Dentmon (12.8 ppg, team-best 20 three-pointers, 77.8 percent free throws, 32 assists). Head coach Lorenzo Romar is in his seventh year with the program.
Stanford All-Time vs. Washington
Stanford owns a 69-59 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to the 1915-16 campaign. Both programs have enjoyed recent success, alternating wins over the last 10 meetings before the Cardinal swept last year's season series for the first time since 2001-02 by winning 65-51 in Seattle and 82-79 at Maples Pavilion.
Who To Watch Against Washington
In career six games, Lawrence Hill is averaging 10.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game against Washington. His 13 assists against the Huskies are the most against any Pac-10 foe. Mitch Johnson is averaging 6.3 points and 4.5 assists in six career meetings against Washington. Landry Fields has pulled down 13 boards against the Huskies in four games, his best total against any Pac-10 opponent.
Stanford Matches Seventh-Best Start In School History
Stanford rattled off 10 victories in a row to begin the year, matching the seventh-best start to a season in school history and best overall since the 2003-04 club opened the year with 26 consecutive wins. In addition, the 10-game winning streak was Stanford's best since that same 26-0 stretch four years ago.
Stanford's impressive start resulted in some early national recognition as the Cardinal first appeared in the receiving votes section of both national polls back on Dec. 22. In this week's edition, Stanford garnered five votes in the ESPN/USA Today/Coaches poll.
The Week That Was
Stanford just wrapped up a busy stretch that featured four games played over a span of eight days. The Cardinal came out of it just fine, posting a 3-1 mark. Stanford opened the week with its best offensive performance of the year, dismantling Texas Tech 111-66 on Dec. 28. After defeating Hartford 69-55 on Dec. 30, Stanford suffered a 90-60 setback against No. 17/14 Arizona State on Jan. 2 in the Pac-10 opener for both teams. Two days later, the Cardinal rebounded for a solid 76-60 victory over Arizona.
On The Road In League Play
Stanford posted a 5-4 record in Pac-10 road games last year, with its only road sweep coming against the Washington schools. Otherwise, the Cardinal earned splits on the Oregon and Arizona trips, picked up a five-point win in Berkeley and was swept at UCLA and USC during the last week of the regular season.
Dawkins Making Good First Impression
In addition to guiding Stanford to one of its best starts in school history, head coach Johnny Dawkins is off to a quick start in his rookie season. Of the 21 first-year head coaches in Division 1 with no prior college head coaching experience, Dawkins and Mark Phelps of Drake currently find themselves atop the list with 11 victories.
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 against non-league competition for the second straight season. The Cardinal posted an 11-1 mark versus non-league foes last year.
In Control From Start To Finish
In the 24 halves of basketball Stanford has played so far this year, the Cardinal has held a double-digit lead in 20. The only halves this year in which Stanford did not extend its lead to 10 points were the first periods at Yale (Nov. 14) and Colorado State (Dec. 14), and both halves against Arizona State (Jan. 2).
Shaking It Off
Since the start of the 2007-08 campaign, Stanford has demonstrated the ability to bounce back after a tough defeat. The Cardinal has dropped back-to-back games only once (Mar. 6, 2008 at UCLA, Mar. 8, 2008 at USC) during that stretch and sports a 6-1 record in games following a loss. Stanford's only loss this year (Jan. 2 vs. No. 17/14 Arizona State) was followed up with a 76-60 victory over Arizona two days later.
Cardinal In The Pac-10, National Statistics
Stanford is the Pac-10 leader in turnover margin (+6.1) and three-point field goal percentage defense (28.8). The Cardinal also ranks ninth and 19th, respectively, in the country in those same categories. Stanford ranks second in the conference in scoring (77.3) and third in steals per game (8.9) and assist/turnover ratio (1.2). Anthony Goods checks in as the Pac-10's fourth-best scorer (17.2 ppg) while Lawrence Hill is seventh in rebounding (6.3). Mitch Johnson is sixth in assists per game (4.7) and fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.8). Landry Fields is sixth in rebounding (6.7) and fifth in steals per game (1.8).
Stanford Opening Up On Offense
Coming into this year, head coach Johnny Dawkins promised a more up-tempo offensive attack due to increased team speed and experienced guard play. And so far, he's been right on as Stanford ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring at 77.3 points per game. Stanford scored at least 70 points in five straight games to begin the year, representing the first time that has happened since a five-game stretch at the end of the 2001-02 campaign.