Stanford Cardinal (21-12, 10-8 Pac-12)
No. 17/17 New Mexico Lobos (27-6, 15-3 Mountain West)
Friday, March 21, 2014 • 10:40 a.m. PT
St. Louis, Mo. • Scottrade Center (18,750)
Tournament Seeds: Stanford (10), New Mexico (7)
Series History: Stanford leads 2-1
Last Meeting: Stanford 81, New Mexico 66 (Nov. 17, 2001 at Albuquerque, N.M.)
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PBP: Scott Reiss, Analyst: John Platz)
Westwood One (PBP: Kevin Kugler, Analyst: Jim Jackson)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: Shawn Tuteja)
TV: TBS (PBP: Jim Nantz, Analyst: Greg Anthony, Sideline: Tracy Wolfson)
The Opening Tip
Back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008, at-large entrant Stanford (21-12, 10-8 Pac-12) is headed to St. Louis as the No. 10 seed in the South Regional.
The game can be heard live on KNBR 1050 AM, featuring the insightful duo of Scott Reiss (play-by-play) and John Platz (analyst). Westwood One Radio provides the national call with Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) and Jim Jackson (analyst). KZSU 90.1 FM offers coverage with Shawn Tuteja (play-by-play). TBS has the telecast with Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Greg Anthony (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline).
Despite losing two starters and two key reserves to season-ending injuries, Stanford reached the 20-win plateau for the 22nd time in school history and third during head coach Johnny Dawkins’ six-year tenure. Of Stanford’s 33 games to date, 16 have come against NCAA Tournament teams. The Cardinal ended the regular season No. 38 in the RPI and finished 3-2 against top-25 opponents. In addition to finishing tied for third in the highly-competitive Pac-12, Stanford’s six road victories ranked second in the conference behind Arizona’s eight. A challenging non-conference slate featured tilts against BYU, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Michigan and two road trips to the East Coast.
Scouting No. 17/17 New Mexico
Ranked No. 17 nationally in both polls, New Mexico (27-6, 15-3 Mountain West) is one of the country’s hottest teams, having won nine of its last 10 games overall ... Included in New Mexico’s finishing kick was a 64-58 win over San Diego State in the Mountain West Tournament final. It was the Lobos’ second victory over the Aztecs ... New Mexico was 9-3 against non-conference foes with a notable win over Cincinnati ... The Lobos are averaging 74.6 points, 38.2 rebounds and 15.5 assists per game while shooting 46.1 percent. Opponents are held to 66.4 points and 38.9 percent shooting ... Look out for: Cameron Bairstow (20.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 55.6 percent FG), Kendall Williams (16.4 ppg, 163 assists, 52 steals), Alex Kirk (13.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 85 blocks).
Stanford All-Time vs. New Mexico
Stanford sports a 2-1 record against New Mexico in the all-time series. The teams last met on Nov. 17, 2001 in Albuquerque, with the Cardinal prevailing 81-66. One year earlier, it was Stanford cruising in a 75-44 rout at Maples Pavilion. New Mexico’s only victory was a 78-63 decision on Dec. 28, 1974.
Stanford All-Time In NCAA Tournament
Stanford owns a 21-15 record in NCAA Tournament competition and is making its 17th appearance overall. The Cardinal was tabbed a No. 3 seed during its most recent NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008, losing 82-62 to Texas in the Sweet 16 following victories over Cornell (77-53) in the opening round and Marquette (82-81 in overtime) in the second round. Stanford captured the 1942 championship, reached the Final Four in 1998, advanced to the Elite Eight in 2001 and moved on to the Sweet 16 in 1997.
Breaking Down The Seeding
Stanford has been assigned a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history. The last time Stanford was tabbed a No. 10 came during the 1994-95 campaign, defeating No. 7 UNC Charlotte 70-68 in the opening round in Albany, N.Y. The Cardinal then suffered a 75-53 second-round loss to No. 2 seed Massachusetts.
Stanford vs. NCAA Tournament Teams
The Cardinal has squared off against 11 teams in this year’s NCA A Tournament field, tallying a 7-9 record. Six of Stanford’s 12 non-conference opponents reached the NCAA Tournament. Stanford finished 2-1 vs. Arizona State, 1-0 vs. Cal Poly, 1-0 vs. Connecticut, 1-0 vs. Oregon, 1-0 vs. Texas Southern, 1-2 vs. UCLA, 0-1 vs. BYU, 0-1 vs. Colorado, 0-1 vs. Michigan, 0-1 vs. Pittsburgh and 0-2 vs. Arizona.
Strong Semifinal Run At Pac-12 Tournament
Seeded No. 6, Stanford reached the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2010 after defeating Washington State 74-63 and Arizona State 79-58 ... Playing three games in three days finally caught up with the Cardinal, which dropped an 84-59 decision to UCLA after the teams had split the regular season series ... Against Washington State, Chasson Randle scored a team-high 22 points to lead all five starters in double figures. Stanford shot 58.5 percent and was 21-24 from the foul line ... Against Arizona State, Chasson Randle poured in a team-high 21 points as Stanford shot 70.8 percent in the second half. The Cardinal also held a 34-23 rebounding edge ... Against UCLA, Stanford trailed throughout the entire contest and allowed 65.2 percent shooting, the most for an opponent since Arizona’s 70.0 percent back on March 7, 2009.
Powell, Randle Catch Fire At Pac-12 Tournament
Dwight Powell enjoyed a solid Pac-12 Tournament, producing the types of performances that had become commonplace during December and January. Powell averaged 15.7 points while shooting 63.0 percent overall and 83.3 percent from the foul line. Chasson Randle was even better, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team after averaging 18.0 points while shooting 47.4 percent overall and 86.7 percent from the charity stripe.
Resilient Nature A Constant
Stanford has consistently displayed the ability to bounce back after a loss, posting an 8-3 record in such games. That type of resiliency was most evident in conference play, where the Cardinal won the second game of a road trip after losing the first on three different occasions - a feat Stanford had never accomplished since Pac-10 play debuted in 1979.
Six Trends To Keep An Eye On
1) Stanford’s 46.4 shooting percentage is its highest since the 2003-04 team connected at 47.9 percent. It’s a noticeable improvement over last year’s 41.6 percent mark. Credit a shift in philosophy to the triangle offense, showcasing the team’s versatility and athleticism.
2) Anthony Brown (991) and Josh Huestis (993) can both reach the career 1,000-point mark in Friday’s game. Dwight Powell and Chasson Randle reached the mark earlier this year.
3) Chasson Randle must remain aggressive. Randle was held without a free throw attempt in last week’s loss to UCLA, representing the first time that has happened in 2013-14.
4) Stanford has grabbed less than 30 rebounds in three of the last four games, with the 22 boards against UCLA its fewest since totaling 20 caroms at Oregon State on Feb. 19, 2009.
5) Get Stefan Nastic touches early and often. Nastic has made 13 consecutive field goals spanning the last four games. In late December, he made 14 straight shots without a miss.
6) John Gage has scored eight points in back-to-back games off the bench. In the 10 previous games, Gage had totaled 17 points combined.
Starters Account For 87.1 Percent Of Scoring...
Head coach Johnny Dawkins has used the same starting lineup of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Josh Huestis, Dwight Powell and Stefan Nastic in every game this season, with the exception of a Senior Day combination that saw Brown and Nastic come off the bench. Every member of the experienced starting five, which has accounted for 87.1 percent of Stanford’s overall scoring, is averaging double figures with the exception of Nastic (7.0 ppg).
...But Here’s The Primary Reason
Consider this: Stanford has received less than 10 points from its bench in 18 games this year. Why the lack of bench production? Stanford has been decimated by injuries to key players who were valuable contributors at this time last year. Three players have missed the entire season: Aaron Bright (dislocated right shoulder), Andy Brown (torn right ACL) and Christian Sanders (hip). Meanwhile, Rosco Allen (stress fracture) played seven minutes against Cal Poly on Dec. 29 but then suffered a setback.
Well Represented Among All-Pac-12 Picks
Dwight Powell and Chasson Randle both earned spots on the All-Pac-12 First Team, as Stanford was well represented with four honorees overall among this year’s All-Pac-12 award winners. Josh Huestis was tabbed to the five-member All-Defensive Team while Anthony Brown was named the Most Improved Player of the Year award. Stanford’s four all-conference selections are the most since four players also received accolades in 2010-11. It’s the first time two players were named to the 10-member All-Pac-12 team since the 2005-06 season, when Chris Hernandez and Matt Haryasz were honored. The conference first started recognizing multi-team status (first, second, honorable mention, etc.) in the 2007-08 season.
Cashing In From The Charity Stripe
Stanford is converting 70.3 percent from the foul line and averaging 24.2 trips to the charity stripe per game. A Cardinal player has made at least 10 free throws in a game on seven occasions. Chasson Randle and Dwight Powell have accomplished the feat three times while Anthony Brown has done it once.
Balanced Scoring Attack
Stanford’s triangle offense allows for multiple scoring options and rewards good decision-making. The Cardinal’s 46.4 shooting percentage ranks 69th in the country and is the highest of head coach Johnny Dawkins’ tenure. There have been six instances this year in which Stanford received at least 20 points from two players in the same game.
Randle One Of Pac-12’s Elite Performers
Chasson Randle successfully put the struggles of his sophomore year behind (39.9 percent FG), 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 (second in the Pac-12) while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 76.5 percent from the foul line. Randle has reached double-figure scoring in all but two games while matching his career high of 33 points twice. Named an all-conference pick for the first time in his career, Randle has scored at least 20 points in four of Stanford’s last five contests.
Powell Displays Dynamic All-Around Game
Dwight Powell is averaging 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent overall. A two-time All-Pac-12 First Team honoree, Powell is a matchup nightmare who has notched seven double-doubles this year while scoring in double figures 26 times. Playing the role of an athletic 6-10 “point forward”, Powell has dished out a team-best 107 assists (3.2 per game) and also leads the club with 42 steals. Powell ranked third on the squad in those same two categories last year, so his production this year is no fluke.
Powell Also The Pac-12’s Best In The Classroom
Last week during the conference tournament, Powell was named the 2014 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year (senior on track to receive degree, cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, athletic accomplishments). A Science, Technology & Society major, Powell sports a 3.05 GPA and will graduate in June. Powell has twice earned Pac-12 All-Academic team accolades, named to the second team last year after receiving honorable mention status as a sophomore. In addition to being named to this year’s John R. Wooden Award preseason watch list, Powell was one of 30 Senior CLASS Award candidates (notable achievements in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.)
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 23 games, Brown is averaging 12.7 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 44.1 percent from three-point territory. His slashing, attacking style of play has resulted in an 80.3 percent ledger from the foul line. A 2011 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team selection, Brown provides Stanford with added length and athleticism while also serving as its best perimeter defender.
Huestis One Of Nation’s Premier Defenders
Josh Huestis continues to prove why he is one of the Pac-12’s premier defensive performers, earning All-Defensive Team accolades for the third consecutive season. Huestis is averaging 11.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 45.5 percent overall and 63.8 percent from the foul line. In an 80-59 rout of USC on Feb. 20, Huestis became Stanford’s all-time leading shot-blocker and is now up to 181 career swats - quite an accomplishment for a player who stands only 6-7. Huestis has also racked up seven double-doubles.
Nastic Anchoring The Frontcourt
Playing regularly for the first time in his career, Stefan Nastic is averaging 7.0 points and 2.8 rebounds. Nastic has scored in double figures 10 times, a feat he had accomplished only twice in 53 career games prior to this year. In addition to shooting 55.6 percent overall, Nastic is a capable free throw shooter (64.0 percent) who has a knack for frustrating his defender and drawing contact. A skilled passer with solid footwork, Nastic is 13-13 from the floor in his last four games. Earlier this year, Nastic made 14 consecutive field goal attempts and also saw a streak of 16 free throws in a row snapped in November after dating back to last year.
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 announced the signing of four incoming student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. 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.
Latest Set Of Twins
Freshmen guards Malcolm Allen and Marcus Allen are only the fourth set of twins to play varsity basketball at Stanford since 1960. Twin seven-footers Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez (Fresno, Calif./San Joaquin Memorial HS) played two seasons together before both were selected in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft. All-Americans Jarron Collins and Jason Collins (North Hollywood, Calif./Harvard-Westlake HS) also both went on to play in the NBA after successful four-year stints on The Farm that included an NCAA Final Four appearance in 1998. Twins Don Clemetson and Doug Clemetson (Richmond, Calif./Harry Ellis HS) competed on Stanford’s varsity squad from 1960-62 after playing together on the freshman team the previous season.
Cardinal Debuts Google Glass Technology
Prior to its annual Cardinal-White scrimmage on Oct. 24, Stanford became the first college sports team to debut the revolutionary Google Glass product in real-time action during warm-ups. In conjunction with the CrowdOptic platform technology, season ticket holders in attendance were able to view the action through the student-athletes’ perspective simply by pointing their mobile device in the direction of the court. They were also able to join a Google+ hangout or view through their own Google Glass.