Stanford Cardinal (18-9, 9-6 Pac-12)
No. 3/3 Arizona Wildcats (26-2, 13-2 Pac-12)
Sunday, March 2, 2014 • 5 p.m. PT
Tucson, Ariz. • McKale Center (14,545)
Series History: Arizona leads 56-29
Last Meeting: Arizona 60, Stanford 57 (Jan. 29, 2014 at Stanford, Calif.)
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PBP: Scott Reiss, Analyst: John Platz)
TV: ESPNU (PBP: Roxy Bernstein, Analyst: Corey Williams)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (18-9, 9-6 Pac-12) is looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s loss at Arizona State. It won’t be easy, but the perfect opportunity presents itself on Sunday night, when the Cardinal travels to No. 3/3 Arizona (26-2, 13-2 Pac-12).
The game can be heard on KNBR 1050 AM, featuring the insightful duo of Scott Reiss (play-by-play) and John Platz (analyst). The contest will be televised on ESPNU, with Roxy Bernstein (play-by-play) and Corey Williams (analyst) on the call.
Stanford will host Colorado and Utah next week to close out the regular season.
Scouting No. 3/3 Arizona
Arizona (26-2, 13-2 Pac-12) has won three in a row, including an 87-59 rout of California on Wednesday in which the Wildcats avenged one of their two losses ... Arizona opened the year on a school-record 21-game winning streak before suffering a 60-58 loss at California three nights after visiting Stanford ... Ranked among the nation’s top-five for the entire year, Arizona is undefeated in 17 home games and creeping closer to the Pac-12’s regular-season title ... The Wildcats are averaging 73.9 points, shooting 47.1 percent overall and own a +9.2 rebounding margin. Opponents are scoring 57.9 points while shooting 38.1 percent ... Look out for: Nick Johnson (16.2 ppg, 45.1 percent FG, 76.9 percent FT), Aaron Gordon (11.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 48.9 percent FG), T.J. McConnell (8.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 156 assists).
Stanford All-Time vs. Arizona
Arizona owns a 56-29 all-time advantage and has won eight straight in the series, which dates back to the 1937-38 campaign. Arizona escaped with a 60-57 victory at Maples Pavilion in the first meeting back on Jan. 29. Close games have been the norm as 15 of the last 21 contests have been decided by 10 points or less. The Cardinal’s most recent victory in the series was a 76-60 triumph on Jan. 4, 2009 at Maples Pavilion. Stanford has not won in Tucson since prevailing 67-66 on Feb. 16, 2008 thanks to a Robin Lopez tip-in.
Notable Career Totals Against Arizona
In five career games, Dwight Powell has averaged 10.0 points on 17-38 (44.7 percent) shooting while grabbing 5.8 rebounds. Also in five games, Josh Huestis is averaging 6.6 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 12-37 (32.4 percent) shooting. Anthony Brown (6-27, 22.2 percent, four games) and Chasson Randle (10-42, 23.8 percent, three games) have both struggled from the floor.
Looking For A Fourth Top-25 Victory
Stanford is 3-1 against top-25 squads this year, defeating No. 23/25 UCLA at home while winning road games at No. 10/10 Connecticut and No. 17/13 Oregon. The Cardinal also suffered a 60-57 home loss to No. 1/1 Arizona on Jan. 29. Four victories over ranked foes would be the most for Stanford since the 2007-08 campaign, when the NCAA Sweet 16-bound Cardinal knocked off six top-25 clubs. Stanford owns a 7-14 record all-time versus top-25 teams under head coach Johnny Dawkins.
Resilient + Road-Tested
Two reasons why Stanford projects as an NCAA Tournament team? First, the Cardinal has shown resiliency, posting a 7-1 record in games following a loss. Stanford has dropped back-to-back games only once, losing to California and Oregon State in the first two games of Pac-12 play. The Cardinal has pieced together four different three-game winning streaks this year. Second, it helps to own the Pac-12’s best road record (6-4) behind Arizona (7-2). The Cardinal is 4-4 in conference games and also boasts wins at Denver and No. 10/10 Connecticut.
Takeaways From The Arizona State Game
Anthony Brown scored a team-high 21 points but Stanford fell short in a 76-64 loss at Arizona State. It was Brown’s fifth 20-point game of the season and seven of his career ... The Cardinal missed a chance to take over sole possession of third place in the conference ... Chasson Randle added 17 points and Dwight Powell chipped in with 11 for Stanford, which shot 39.6 percent and was hindered by 15 turnovers ... Stanford missed 11 of its first 15 shots and trailed 34-19 with 3:17 left in the first half, as Arizona State led 39-29 at half. The Cardinal never got closer than nine in the second half ... Wednesday’s game represented the fourth tip time of 9 p.m. or later this season for Stanford. The Cardinal is now 2-2 in such games, defeating Houston (10 p.m.) and No. 10/10 Connecticut (9 p.m.) and losing to Pittsburgh (9:30 p.m.) ... In six career games against Arizona State, Chasson Randle is averaging 15.0 points while shooting 46.2 percent from the field ... Stanford dished out a season-low four assists, its fewest since finishing with three in a victory over No. 17/18 Washington on Jan. 13, 2011.
Looking Back: No. 1/1 Arizona 60, Stanford 57 (Jan. 29 at Stanford, Calif.)
In front of an electric sellout crowd, Stanford gave No. 1/1 Arizona all it could handle before the Wildcats survived a Chasson Randle three-point try and escaped with a 60-57 victory thanks to a clutch three-pointer from Nick Johnson with 51 seconds remaining ... Josh Huestis posted his fifth double-double of the year, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds while Dwight Powell scored 13 points. Stefan Nastic added 10 points ... Stanford limited Arizona to its lowest point total of the year while allowing 36.0 percent shooting. The Cardinal never fell behind by more than five points and held a seven-point advantage on two occasions, the final instance coming at 49-42 with 13:15 left to go ... However, the Cardinal was victimized by a second-half scoring drought that lasted nearly 10 minutes. After a jumper from Huestis put Stanford in front 53-49 at the 10:03 mark, the next bucket didn’t come until a layup from Powell with 1:21 remaining ... Chasson Randle entered averaging 19.2 points but was limited to 12 points (3-15 FG).
Perfecting The Conference Road Split
Stanford’s ability to bounce back from a loss has been most evident in Pac-12 play, where the Cardinal has won the second game of a road trip after losing the first on three occasions. It’s the first time Stanford has accomplished that since Pac-10 play debuted in 1979.
Protecting The Basketball
Stanford finished with 15 turnovers against Arizona State, signaling only the fifth time in 13 games the Cardinal has committed fewer than 10 turnovers. The Cardinal has tallied 301 miscues overall, ranking 48th in the nation for fewest turnovers.
Cashing In From The Charity Stripe
A Stanford player has made at least 10 free throws in a game on seven occasions. Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell have done it three times while Anthony Brown has done it once.
Starters Account For 86.9 Percent Of Scoring...
Head coach Johnny Dawkins has employed a starting lineup of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Josh Huestis, Dwight Powell and Stefan Nastic in all 27 games. Every member of the experienced starting five, which has accounted for 86.9 percent of Stanford’s overall scoring, is averaging double figures with the exception of Nastic (7.0 ppg). That being said, Stanford has received less than 10 points from its bench in 16 games this year.
...But Here’s The Primary Reason
Why the lack of bench production? Stanford has been decimated by injuries to key players that were significant contributors at this time last year. Three players have missed the entire season, with Aaron Bright (dislocated right shoulder) the most recent addition to a list that already included Andy Brown (torn right ACL) and Christian Sanders (hip). Meanwhile, Rosco Allen (stress fracture) returned against Cal Poly on Dec. 29 but has since suffered a setback.
Randle Returns To Form Of Rookie Year
Chasson Randle has put last year’s struggles behind and is performing at a similar level to 2011-12, when he produced one of the best rookie seasons in school history. Randle is averaging a team-high 18.7 points (also ranking third in the Pac-12) while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 76.4 percent from the foul line. Randle has also scored in double figures 25 times while matching his career high of 33 points twice.
Powell Displays Dynamic All-Around Game
Dwight Powell is averaging 14.7 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent overall. However, two underrated aspects of his game have looked very impressive. Playing the role of a 6-10 “point forward”, Powell has dished out a team-best 100 assists (3.7 per game) and also leads the club with 37 steals. Powell ranked third on the squad in those same two categories last year, so his production this year is no fluke.
Brown’s Return Provides Immediate Boost
Anthony Brown has successfully returned to action after missing all but four games last year due to a hip injury. Reaching double figures in 20 games, Brown is averaging 13.7 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 47.9 percent from three-point territory. His slashing, attacking style of play has resulted in an 81.5 percent ledger from the foul line. A 2011 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection, Brown is also Stanford’s best perimeter defender and typically draws the assignment of locking down the opponent’s top scorer.
Nastic Anchoring The Frontcourt
Playing regularly for the first time in his career, Stefan Nastic is averaging 7.0 points and 2.9 rebounds. Nastic has scored in double figures eight times, a feat he had accomplished only twice in 53 career games prior to this year. In addition to shooting 53.1 percent overall, Nastic is a solid free throw shooter (65.1 percent) who has a knack for drawing contact.
Huestis Named Pac-12 Player of the Week
Josh Huestis was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for Feb. 17-23, averaging 16.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks while shooting 50.0 percent as Stanford notched a home sweep of USC and No. 23/25 UCLA. It’s the second career honor for Huestis and second for a Cardinal player this season after Chasson Randle received the conference’s weekly recognition back in November. In the 80-59 rout of USC, Huestis tallied three blocks to increase his career total to 169 and surpass the previous school record of 167 established by Tim Young (1994-99). Huestis’ record-breaking block came at the 18:08 mark of the second half, swatting a layup attempt from Strahinja Gavrilovic. He also scored 11 points and grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds for his sixth double-double. Two days later in an 83-74 upset of No. 23/25 UCLA, Huestis matched his career high with 22 points, to go along with six rebounds and a season-high five blocks.
Stanford traveled 14,591 miles during non-conference play. After visiting Denver (2,584 miles round trip), the Cardinal embarked on the first of two trips to Brooklyn (5,896 miles round trip) one week later. One month later, Stanford flew to Hartford (3,043 miles one-way) before arriving in Brooklyn (120 miles one-way) via bus the next day. The final leg home from Brooklyn (2,948 miles one-way) completed one of the more grueling non-league swings in Division I.
No. 10 UConn Win Highlights Non-Conference Play
Stanford upset No. 10/10 Connecticut 53-51 on Dec. 18 in Hartford, notching its first road win over a top-10 team since edging No. 9/9 Washington State 67-65 in overtime on Feb. 2, 2008. Trailing 43-30 four minutes into the second half, Stanford limited Connecticut to just 5-31 (16.1 percent) shooting over the final 20 minutes. Connecticut had won 54 straight home games against non-conference foes dating back to 2007. Chasson Randle scored a game-high 22 points while Dwight Powell posted a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Top-15 Recruiting Class Signed For Next Year
Head coach Johnny Dawkins has announced the signing of four incoming student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. The group will join the Cardinal for the 2014-15 campaign. The class is recognized as one of the best in the country, currently ranked as high as No. 9 by ESPN.com, No. 14 by Scout.com and No. 15 by Rivals.com. Robert Cartwright (Pasadena, Calif.), Michael Humphrey (Phoenix, Ariz.), Dorian Pickens (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Reid Travis (Minneapolis, Minn.) are projected as top-100 players and four-star recruits by multiple services. Travis is Stanford’s seventh McDonald’s All-American selection overall and first since Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez were honored in 2006.