Stanford Cardinal (9-3, 0-0 Pac-12)
California Golden Bears (9-4, 0-0 Pac-12)
Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 • 6 p.m.
Stanford, Calif. • Maples Pavilion (7,233)
Series History: California leads 143-116
Last Meeting: Stanford 83, California 70 (March 6, 2013 at Berkeley, Calif.)
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PBP: Scott Reiss, Analyst: John Platz)
KZSU 90.1 FM (PBP: Joe Lami, Analysts: Shawn Tuteja, Vihan Lakshman)
TV: FS1 (PBP: Aaron Goldsmith, Analyst: Jarron Collins)
The Opening Tip
The first week of 2014 coincides with the start of conference play for Stanford (9-3, 0-0 Pac-12), which hosts California (9-4, 0-0 Pac-12) on Thursday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams. The Cardinal won four of its five December games, concluding a strong non-conference effort that was highlighted by a 53-51 upset at No. 10/10 Connecticut.
The game can be heard on KNBR 1050 AM, featuring the tandem of Scott Reiss (play-by-play) and John Platz (analyst). The contest will be televised on Fox Sports 1, with Aaron Goldsmith (play-by-play) and Jarron Collins (analyst) on the call. KZSU 90.1 FM also provides coverage with Joe Lami, Shawn Tuteja and Vihan Lakshman.
California (9-4) is coming off a 90-60 victory over Furman in its most recent contest ... The Golden Bears started 5-0 before suffering back-to-back losses to Syracuse and Dayton in the EA Sports Maui Invitational. California is 0-2 in true road games ... California was picked fifth in the Pac-12 preseason media poll and was receiving votes in both polls during the first couple weeks of November ... California is averaging 74.6 points and 38.5 rebounds per game while shooting 45.9 percent overall. The opposition is averaging 68.8 points and shooting 40.7 percent ... Keep an eye on: Justin Cobbs (14.2 ppg, 82.8 percent FT, 78 assists), David Kravish (11.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 57.1 percent FG, 23 blocks), Richard Solomon (11.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 18 steals).
Stanford All-Time Against California
In a series that dates back to the 1913-14 campaign, California owns a 143-116 edge. Stanford has won three of the last four meetings overall, including four of the last five tilts at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal swept last year’s season series for the first time since 2008, winning 69-59 at home and 83-70 in Berkeley. This marks the third time in five years Stanford and California are squaring off in the Pac-12 opener.
Notable Career Totals Against California
Dwight Powell and Chasson Randle have enjoyed success, as both players are shooting exactly 26-58 (44.8 percent) from the field. Powell has compiled that total in seven career matchups, averaging 10.6 points and 5.8 rebounds while his 74 points against the Golden Bears are the most against any Pac-12 foe. Randle’s offensive production has come over five career games, averaging 15.8 points while his 14 assists are the most against any league foe. Stefan Nastic has scored more points against Cal (11) than any other Pac-12 opponent.
Stanford In Conference Openers
Stanford is 4-6 in conference openers over the last 10 seasons. Prior to last year’s 71-69 loss at USC, the Cardinal had won its last two Pac-12 lid-lifters. Stanford’s most recent victory in a conference opener was a 60-59 win over UCLA at Maples Pavilion on Dec. 29, 2011. Since the 1978-79 campaign, Stanford is 18-17 in conference openers (13-6 home, 5-11 away).
Projected Sixth In Pac-12 Preseason Poll
Stanford was picked to finish sixth in the 2013-14 Pac-12 preseason media poll. Last year, the Cardinal was projected to finish fourth but tied for sixth at 9-9.
Takeaways From The Cal Poly Game
Stanford shot 58.1 percent overall, connected on 5-10 from three-point territory and converted 24-31 from the foul line. The Cardinal also received near double-doubles from Dwight Powell (15 points, eight rebounds) and Josh Huestis (10 points, nine rebounds) ... Chasson Randle finished with 20 points, aided mainly by a 9-11 effort at the foul line ... Stefan Nastic dominated the post, scoring a career-high 20 points thanks to 7-7 shooting and a 6-6 clip from the foul line. He added four rebounds, three assists and two blocks ... For the third time this year, Stanford received at least 20 points in a game from two players: Randle (33)/Powell (28) vs. BYU and Brown (20)/Powell (20) vs. Houston ... Cal Poly was limited to just 35.4 percent shooting and made just 5-20 from long range ... John Gage has made four straight triples after a 1-10 stretch in seven previous games ... After missing the first 11 games due to a stress fracture, Rosco Allen made his season debut. He was 0-1 from the field with one steal in seven minutes off the bench ... Dwight Powell dished out at least five assists in a game for the sixth time this year ... The Cardinal has made at least one three-pointer in 400 consecutive games dating back to an 0-6 outing against Purdue on Nov. 24, 2001 in the John Wooden Tradition.
Defense Catching Up With The Offense
Once a weakness, Stanford’s defense has improved greatly since the start of the year. The Cardinal has used its considerable size advantage to force opponents into difficult looks and obstruct passing lanes. Stanford’s play during the month of December served as the perfect example, with all five opponents held to 68 points or fewer and a 53-51 road upset of No. 10/10 Connecticut serving as the signature win.
Starting Five Has Been Impressive
Head coach Johnny Dawkins has employed a starting lineup of Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, Josh Huestis, Dwight Powell and Stefan Nastic in every game, his longest stretch since sticking with the same five for the final 17 contests of last year. It’s easy to see why, as Stanford boasts an experienced starting five capable of reaching double digits every time out. All four starters with the exception of Nastic (8.8 ppg) are averaging double-figure scoring. That being said, the Cardinal must find a way to jump-start its bench.
Offense Has Been Clicking
Stanford has excelled offensively through the first 12 games, reaching the 70-point plateau eight times and shooting at least 50.0 percent in six games. Also, the Cardinal is ranked 25th nationally in field goal percentage and 15th in three-point field goal percentage. It’s a sharp contrast to last year’s early-season struggles.
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.
Home Sweet Home
Stanford is 70-24 at home under head coach Johnny Dawkins. Stanford has reached the 10-win mark at Maples Pavilion for 20 consecutive seasons and is 6-1 on its home court so far.
Randle Returns To Form Of Rookie Year
Chasson Randle appears to have 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 and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 80.8 percent from the foul line. His numbers from beyond the arc are also steadily improving, now up to 43.4 percent. Randle has also scored in double figures 11 times, including a career-high 33-point outing against BYU on Nov. 11. Over his last four games, Randle is averaging 19.0 points while shooting 12-20 from beyond the arc and 22-27 from the foul line.
Powell Displays Dynamic All-Around Game
A proven scorer and rebounder, Dwight Powell is averaging 14.3 points and 7.7 rebounds although his free throw percentage (58.5) is slightly behind last year’s pace. However, two underrated aspects of his game, which he showed flashes of last year, have looked very impressive early on. For a 6-10 forward, Powell is an excellent passer, dishing out a team-best 50 assists (4.2 per game). He also leads the club with 18 steals. Powell ranked third on the squad in those same two categories last year, so his production this year is no fluke. The preseason accolades continue to roll in, as Powell has been named to the John R. Wooden Award watch list and is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award.
Brown’s Return Provides Immediate Boost
Returning to action after missing all but four games last year due to a hip injury, Anthony Brown has been a key component of the offense. Reaching double figures in nine games, Brown is averaging 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent from the field. More impressive is Brown’s blistering 56.1 percent clip (23-41) from three-point territory. His slashing, attacking style of play has resulted in an 78.9 percent (30-38) 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.
Nastic Anchoring The Frontcourt
Playing regularly for the first time in his career, Stefan Nastic is averaging 8.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Nastic has reached double figures in scoring six times, a feat he had accomplished only twice overall in 53 career games prior to this year. He’s shooting 60.7 percent, scoring the majority of his buckets on high-percentage shots inside the paint. Nastic is a capable free throw shooter (72.1 percent) who has a knack for frustrating his defender and drawing contact. He must continue to improve on the glass, having totaled fewer rebounds (32) than free throw attempts (43) and field goal tries (61).
Huestis’ Strong Defensive Play Continues
The front-runner for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Josh Huestis is averaging 11.5 points and a team-best 8.2 rebounds in his annual quest to become the first Cardinal player to average a double-double since Curtis Borchardt (16.9 ppg, 11.4 rpg) in 2001-02. Huestis nearly accomplished the feat last year, averaging 10.5 points and 9.0 rebounds while compiling nine double-doubles. With 29 swats already this year, Huestis ranks third in school history with 150 career blocks. He’s also shooting 43.5 percent (10-23) from three-point territory. Only three players boast career marks of at least 500 points, 500 rebounds and 100 blocks: Huestis (755, 637, 150), Tim Young (1544, 1070, 167) and Howard Wright (1599, 860, 121).
Cardinal Cashing In At The Foul Line
Stanford is converting at 70.5 percent from the foul line while averaging 23.4 attempts per game. Chasson Randle (59-73, 80.8 percent) and Anthony Brown (30-38, 78.9 percent) lead the way, as five players have already tallied at least 25 free throw attempts. The aggressive backcourt has done a solid job of driving the lane while the frontcourt is battling on the glass and routinely drawing contact. Stanford shot free throws at a 74.3 percent clip last year, good for 35th nationally and the best mark in school history since a 76.3 percent clip in 2005-06.
Bright Is Latest Injury Casualty
Three players are out for the year, with Aaron Bright (dislocated right shoulder) the most recent addition to a list that already includes Andy Brown (torn right ACL) and Christian Sanders (hip). Bright, who will undergo season-ending surgery later this week, is completing coursework toward an undergraduate degree in science, technology and society and is expected to graduate in June. The MVP of Stanford’s 2012 Postseason NIT championship run, Bright averaged 8.7 points and 3.0 assists in 105 career games while his 316 career assists rank 10th in school history. Meanwhile, Rosco Allen (stress fracture) returned to the court against Cal Poly.
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.
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. This year’s group represents the second top-15 class for Stanford in five years.
Cardinal Debuts Google Glass Technology
Prior to its annual Cardinal-White scrimmage on Oct. 24, Stanford became the first 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.
For the 12th straight year in 2012-13, a different player led Stanford in scoring. This time around, it was Dwight Powell taking the honors with a team-best 14.9 points per game. The last player to lead the Cardinal in multiple years was Casey Jacobsen (1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-02).