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Pac-12 Lead On The Line

Jan 20, 2015

No. -/25 Stanford Cardinal (13-4, 4-1 Pac-12)
vs.
No. 7/7 Arizona Wildcats (16-2, 4-1 Pac-12)

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 • 6 p.m. (PT)
Stanford, Calif. • Maples Pavilion (7,233)
Series History: Arizona leads 57-29
Last Meeting: No. 3/3 Arizona 79, Stanford 66
(March 2, 2014 at Tucson, Ariz.)
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PxP: Scott Reiss, Analyst: John Platz)
Compass Media Networks - national (PxP: Drew Bontadelli, Analyst: Mike Wozniak)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PxP: Shawn Tuteja, Analyst: Rob Biedry)
TV: ESPN2 (PxP: Dave Pasch, Analyst: Bill Walton)

The Opening Tip
Stanford (13-4, 4-1 Pac-12) faces its fourth top-25 opponent of the season, welcoming No. 7/7 Arizona (16-2, 4-1 Pac-12) to Maples with first place in the Pac-12 on the line.

Scouting No. 7/7 Arizona
No. 7/7 Arizona (16-2, 4-1 Pac-12), which defeated Utah 69-51 last Saturday, opened the season with 12 consecutive victories and has won four of its last five overall ... Arizona claimed the EA Sports Maui Invitational title in November, defeating San Diego State in the final. The Wildcats also own victories over Kansas State and Gonzaga ... Ranked among the nation’s top-10 throughout the season, Arizona is averaging 74.3 points, shooting 48.9 percent overall and boasts a +7.8 rebounding margin. However, the Wildcats are connecting at a 67.6 percent rate from the charity stripe ... Be sure to watch: Stanley Johnson (14.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 48.2 percent FG), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (10.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 50.4 percent FG), T.J. McConnell (9.1 ppg, 106 assists).

Stanford All-Time vs. Arizona
Arizona owns a 57-29 all-time advantage and has won nine straight in the series, which dates back to the 1937-38 campaign. Arizona swept the season series in 2014, escaping with a 60-57 victory at Maples Pavilion before picking up a 79-66 triumph in Tucson. The Cardinal’s most recent victory in the series was a 76-60 triumph on Jan. 4, 2009, at Maples Pavilion. Stanford is 1-9 all-time against Arizona under head coach Johnny Dawkins.

Notable Career Totals Against Arizona
Chasson Randle has faced Arizona only four times, averaging 11.2 points while shooting 28.0 percent (14-50 FG) overall. In five career games, Anthony Brown is averaging 6.0 points while shooting 32.3 percent (11-34 FG). In three career appearances, Stefan Nastic has scored 12 total points on 5-16 shooting.

Recent Success Against Top-25 Opponents
No. 7/7 Arizona would be the highest-ranked opponent Stanford has defeated since Jan. 28, 2007, when the Cardinal upset No. 3/2 UCLA 75-68 at Maples Pavilion. Stanford is 11-16 all-time against top-25 teams under head coach Johnny Dawkins. The Cardinal is 2-1 against nationally-ranked foes this season, notching a 74-71 overtime upset of No. 9/9 Texas in Austin (Dec. 23) and outlasting No. 21/19 Washington 68-60 in overtime at Maples Pavilion (Jan. 4). Stanford finished 5-2 against top-25 foes during the 2013-14 campaign, with the five victories representing its most since a 6-4 record in 2007-08.

Back In the Top-25
Stanford checks in at No. 25 in this week’s USA Today Coaches poll and is receiving votes in the Associated Press poll, good for No. 30 overall. The Cardinal finished at No. 24 in the 2014 postseason edition of the USA Today Coaches poll after advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16. However, Stanford is making its first in-season appearance in either national poll since finishing the 2008 campaign ranked No. 10 (Associated Press) and No. 11 (USA Today Coaches).

Milestones In Reach For Randle
Chasson Randle, a candidate for Pac-12 Player of the Year and Stanford’s first All-America honor since Brook Lopez in 2008, has the following milestones in sight.
12 points away from reaching 2,000 in his career and joining Todd Lichti (2,336) and Adam Keefe (2,319) as the only players in school history to reach the mark. Would also become only the 15th player in conference history and first since UCLA’s Jason Kapono in 2003.
52 minutes away from becoming Stanford’s all-time leader in career minutes played. Randle, who has played 4,056 minutes, is chasing Todd Lichti’s school record (4,107).
Against Washington on Jan. 4, Randle became Stanford’s career leader in three-point field goals with a second-half triple to pass previous record holder Dion Cross.
Randle remains in contention for the following: Wooden Award Presented by Wendy’s (down to 25 finalists), Naismith Trophy Top 50 Watch list, Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award candidate and the Allstate NABC/WBCA Good Works Team.

Productive Even With Travis Sidelined
Stanford has continued to overcome the loss of rookie Reid Travis, who three weeks ago was sidelined indefinitely due a stress fracture in his upper leg. The Cardinal is 5-1 during that span, holding opponents to 60 points or less in four games. Travis (6.9 rpg) was the Cardinal’s leading rebounder at the time of his injury, but others have picked up the slack. Over the last six games, three players are averaging at least 6.0 boards: Stefan Nastic (8.8), Anthony Brown (8.3) and Rosco Allen (6.8). Stanford recently outrebounded Connecticut 48-24 on Jan. 17.

Takeaways From The Connecticut Game
Chasson Randle scored 23 points and Anthony Brown added 18 points as Stanford pulled away from Connecticut during the second half of a 72-59 victory ... Led by Rosco Allen’s career-high 13 rebounds and Stefan Nastic’s 12 boards, the Cardinal owned a 48-24 edge on the glass. Only four of Connecticut’s 24 rebounds were offensive ... Stanford’s +24 rebound differential was its largest margin since Feb. 23, 2012, when the Cardinal matched that total with a 50-26 advantage at Colorado ... Stanford is 2-4 all-time against Connecticut, also collecting a 53-51 victory in Hartford last December when the Huskies were ranked No. 10 in both polls ... Connecticut’s visit signaled the first time the Cardinal took a break in the middle of league play since March 1, 2011, when Stanford hosted Seattle University prior to the Pac-10 regular season finale against California ... Grant Verhoeven was unavailable (hip) for the second straight game and is out indefinitely ... Verhoeven started four straight games after missing the first seven contests of the season.

A Team That Values The Basketball
Stanford is averaging only 10.5 turnovers per game, a total that is tied for the Pac-12 lead and ranks 15th-best in the country. The Cardinal has committed 10 miscues or fewer in 10 games.

Sharp Shooting From Long Range
The Cardinal is converting at a high rate from beyond the arc, with its 40.2 percent clip ranking second in the Pac-12 behind Utah (40.9 percent) and 15th in the nation. Chasson Randle has connected on a team-best 46 three-pointers while Anthony Brown is shooting 46.3 percent (37-80), an increase from last season’s 45.3 percent (53-117) ledger.

Searching For The Right Combination
Head coach Johnny Dawkins has employed seven different lineups through 17 games after using just two combinations all of last season. On Jan. 8 against UCLA, Robert Cartwright became the fifth player to make his first career start this season, joining Marcus Allen, Dorian Pickens, Reid Travis and Grant Verhoeven as first-timers in the lineup.

Improved Nastic Anchors The Frontcourt
Stefan Nastic has developed into one of best centers in the country and a focal point of the Cardinal offense. His transformation actually started at the end of last season, when Nastic converted 14-18 (77.8 percent) during the NCAA Tournament and 29-34 (85.3 percent) over his final eight games. It’s been more of the same this season, with Nastic averaging 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds while reaching double figures in all but one game (nine points at Texas). Also a capable free throw shooter (71.2 percent), Nastic leads Stanford with 23 blocks.

Home Sweet Home
Stanford is unbeaten in nine home games this season and 85-27 at Maples Pavilion under head coach Johnny Dawkins. Stanford finished 12-4 at home in 2013-14 and reached the 10-win mark for the 21st consecutive season.