March 25, 2012
Stanford Cardinal (24-11, 10-8 Pac-12)
Massachusetts Minutemen (25-11, 9-7 Atlantic 10)
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 4 p.m. PT
Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763) New York, N.Y.
Series History: Tied at 2-2
Last Meeting: Massachusetts 79, Stanford 74 (March 16, 1996)
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PBP: John Platz, Analyst: Drew Shiller)
Westwood One Radio (PBP: Bob Papa, Analyst: Steve Lappas)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: JD Haddon, Analyst: Kevin Zhang)
TV: ESPN2 (PBP: Mike Patrick, Analyst: Fran Fraschilla, Analyst: Bill Raftery)
The Opening Tip
Making its second appearance of the season at New York's Madison Square Garden, Stanford (24-11, 10-8 Pac-12) squares off against Massachusetts (25-11, 9-7 Atlantic 10) on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Postseason NIT. The Cardinal is searching for its second NIT championship in school history after capturing the hardware in 1991. With four wins in its last five games, Stanford is playing some of its best basketball of the year.
Tuesday's game can be heard on KNBR 1050 AM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com, featuring the insightful tandem of John Platz (play-by-play) and Drew Shiller (analyst). KZSU 90.1 FM provides coverage with JD Haddon (play-by-play) and Kevin Zhang (analyst). Westwood One Radio has the national call with Bob Papa (play-by-play) and Steve Lappas (analyst). The game is televised nationally on ESPN2, with Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Fran Fraschilla (analyst) and Bill Raftery (analyst).
Massachusetts (25-11, 9-7 Atlantic 10) won all three of its Postseason NIT games on the road, joining Fresno State (1998), Detroit (2001) and Georgetown (2003) as the fourth school to accomplish the feat since host sites were introduced in 1977 ... The Minutemen erased a 17-point deficit in their most recent contest, rallying to defeat Drexel 72-70 after trailing 53-36 with 16:26 left to play ... Massachusetts is making its 19th postseason appearance and 11th in the Postseason NIT. The Minutemen are 13-12 all-time in NIT play, reaching the semifinals in 1991 and 2008 ... Massachusetts was picked 12th in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll, finishing in a four-way tie for fifth place at 9-7 ... The Minutemen average 77.3 points and 39.3 rebounds per game while shooting 43.7 percent overall. Opponents are averaging 72.4 points and 38.8 rebounds per game ... Be sure to watch: Chaz Williams (16.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 228 assists, 78.7 percent free throws), Raphiael Putney (10.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 50 blocks), Sean Carter (8.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 37 blocks).
Stanford All-Time vs. Massachusetts
The series is tied at 2-2, with three of those four meetings taking place in the postseason. The Minutemen have won the last two matchups, eliminating Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in both 1996 (79-74) and 1995 (75-53). Stanford's most recent win in the series came back on March 25, 1991, defeating UMass 73-71 in the semifinals of the Postseason NIT at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinal also defeated the Minutemen 57-51 on Dec. 29, 1987, at the West Palm Hurricane Classic at West Palm Beach, Fla.
Stanford-Massachusetts Common Opponents
Stanford and Massachusetts share one common opponent (Utah). The Cardinal split its regular season series with the Utes, prevailing 68-65 at Maples Pavilion before suffering a 58-57 defeat the next month in Salt Lake City. UMass defeated Utah 89-75 in November at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas, despite the Utes shooting 60.0 percent.
MSG and NYC: Been There, Done That
Stanford is just the fourth team to play at New York's Madison Square Garden in both the Preseason and Postseason NIT during the same season, joining Notre Dame (1999-00), Syracuse (2001-02) and Ohio State (2007-08).
Stanford All-Time In The Postseason
Stanford is now 33-20 all-time in 23 postseason appearances, including a 10-4 record in six NIT appearances. The Cardinal is also 21-15 in NCAA Tournament play (16 appearances) and 2-1 in CBI competition (1 appearance).
21 Years Ago: Stanford Captures 1991 NIT Championship
Stanford claimed the 1991 Postseason NIT championship thanks to an unlikely run that ended with a 78-72 victory over Oklahoma in the title game. It was the second national championship in program history, as the Cardinal also captured the 1942 NCAA crown. During its 1991 run, the Cardinal won four of its five games away from home and defeated Oklahoma for the title.
The Cardinal All-Time At MSG
Stanford is making its eighth appearance at Madison Square Garden. This will be Stanford's second Postseason NIT appearance (1991) at the famed arena. Stanford is 9-4 all-time at MSG.
Pregame Jitters? We'll Just Ask Landry...
The thought of playing in an environment like Madison Square Garden might seem intimidating to most, but former Stanford standout Landry Fields adjusted quickly last year during his rookie campaign with the New York Knicks. With Spike Lee regularly sporting his jersey from courtside, Fields started a team-best 81 games while averaging 9.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game during the regular season. Selected as the 39th overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft, Fields earned a spot on the NBA's All-Rookie First Team. Producing one of the most memorable seasons in school history, Fields led the Pac-10 in scoring at 22.0 points per game and finished with 704 points for the third-best single-season total during his senior year.
Season Snapshot In 100 Words
Head coach Johnny Dawkins has led Stanford to its first 20-win season since a 20-14 finish during his rookie year in 2008-09. Stanford's 24 victories are the most since a 28-8 finish four years ago when the Cardinal reached the NCAA Sweet 16. Stanford was the only Pac-12 school with three victories against teams ranked among the RPI's top-50 (Colorado State, California and NC State). Stanford also swept the regular season series (convincingly) against Pac-12 Tournament champion Colorado, winning 84-64 at home and 74-50 in Boulder. The Cardinal placed seventh in the Pac-12 at 10-8, its first winning record in league play since 2008.
Preseason NIT Runner-Up Finish Fuels Hot Start
Stanford fell just short of upsetting then-No. 5/5 Syracuse on Nov. 25 in the championship game of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off in a 69-63 defeat. Leading 25-24 at halftime and 55-47 with 6:47 left in the game, Stanford was poised to take down its highest-ranked opponent since a 75-68 home win over No. 3/2 UCLA on Jan. 28, 2007. But Syracuse closed the game on a 15-3 run to escape. Stanford won its first three Preseason NIT contests by double digits, knocking down a season-high nine three-pointers in an 82-67 semifinal win over Oklahoma State following West Regional victories over Fresno State and Colorado State.
Stanford's Path To NYC
Seeded No. 3 in its region, Stanford defeated Cleveland State 76-65 to open tournament play. After top-seeded Arizona and second-seeded Mississippi were upset in the first round, the Cardinal was assured of home-court advantage for its remaining games. Stanford then edged seventh-seeded Illinois State 92-88 in overtime before routing third-seeded Nevada 84-56 two days later.
Owens Performing At High Level
Josh Owens is enjoying the best season of his career, ranking second on the club in scoring (11.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (5.7 rpg) while starting all 34 games. Active at both ends of the floor, Owens also leads the team in steals (41) and ranks second in blocks (24). Owens surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career in a 92-88 overtime victory over Illinois State on March 19 and now stands at 1,021. He is the 40th player in school history to reach the prestigious scoring mark. Even more impressive, Owens is the 21st player in school history to compile at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his career.
70 A Key Number For Stanford
Stanford improved to 18-1 when scoring at least 70 points in a game this year. The Cardinal is now 28-3 combined over the last two years when reaching the 70-point plateau.
Lineups Based On Matchups
Head coach Johnny Dawkins employed his 15th different starting lineup on March 4 against Cal. Ten different players have received at least one starting nod this year. Meanwhile, Dawkins had used 13 different starting lineups over the previous two seasons combined.
Winning The Rebound Battle
Stanford has owned a strong edge on the glass, averaging 36.7 rebounds per game compared to its opponents' 32.2 clip. Stanford's rebounding margin (+4.4) ranks 43rd in the country. Five different players are averaging at least 3.0 rebounds, led by Josh Owens' 5.7 clip.
Balanced Scoring A Trademark
Jarrett Mann became the 12th player to register a double-digit scoring effort with his season-high 10-point outing against Arizona State on March 7 in the Pac-12 Tournament. That surpasses last year's total when 10 players reached double digits in scoring at least once.
Owens, Randle, Huestis Represented Among All-Pac-12 Selections
Josh Owens was named to the All-Pac-12 Team, earning Second Team accolades to highlight Stanford's award winners. Chasson Randle was honored as one of five picks for the All-Freshmen Team, while Josh Huestis nabbed Honorable Mention status as a member of the All-Defensive Team. Owens' selection as an all-conference pick is the second of his career, as he also earned Honorable Mention status last year. Randle is the fourth player to earn All-Freshman Team status during head coach Johnny Dawkins' tenure after a six-year period in which only two Cardinal rookies were honored.
Two Of The Pac-12's Most Improved Players
Stanford's improvement can be traced to the development of sophomores Aaron Bright and Josh Huestis. Bright's 127 assists and 3.6 assists per game lead the team. Huestis leads the team with 40 blocked shots. It's a modest total, yet still ranks as the most swats by any Cardinal player since Robin Lopez (83) and Brook Lopez (56) in 2008.
Dick Davey To Retire At End Of Season
Earlier this month, associate head coach Dick Davey announced that he would retire from coaching at the end of the season. Highly-regarded as a true teacher of the game and well-respected veteran of West Coast basketball, Davey has served four seasons as Stanford's associate head coach while working mainly with the post players. No stranger to the Bay Area hoops scene, Davey previously spent 30 years at Santa Clara and served as the Broncos' head coach for 15 seasons.
Dawkins Inks Three To Letters Of Intent
Head coach Johnny Dawkins announced the signing of three incoming student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Joining the Cardinal for the 2012-13 campaign are the following: Rosco Allen (Las Vegas, Nev., 6-9, 205-pound forward), Christian Sanders (Houston, Texas, 6-4, 185-pound guard) and Grant Verhoeven (Visalia, Calif., 6-9, 220-pound center). The class is currently ranked as high as No. 25 in the nation by Scout.com.
Spain Trip Provides Head Start
Stanford embarked on a six-game, 11-day tour of Spain in early September, touring Madrid, Alicante and Barcelona. Stanford played all six games against teams from the ACB League, regarded as the second-best league in the world behind the NBA. Among the opponents: Real Madrid, the 30-time Spanish League and eight-time Euroleague champion, and FC Barcelona Regal, which was playing its first-ever game against a college team and beat the Los Angeles Lakers in an exhibition game last October. Leading Stanford in Spain were Chasson Randle (11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds) and Josh Owens (8.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 52.6 percent FG).