Dec. 20, 2012
Stanford Cardinal (7-4, 0-0 Pac-12)
Northwestern Wildcats (8-3, 0-0 Big Ten)
Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 6 p.m. PT
Evanston, IL Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Series History: Stanford leads 4-2
Last Meeting: Northwestern 70, Stanford 62 (Dec. 19, 2009 at Evanston, IL)
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM (PBP: John Platz)
TV: Big Ten Network (PBP: Dave Revsine, Analyst: Mike Kelley)
The Opening Tip
Stanford (7-4) concludes its first road trip of the season on Friday night, facing off against Northwestern (8-3). The Cardinal is attempting to come away with a road split, after dropping an 88-79 decision at No. 25/- NC State on Tuesday. After next week's holiday break, Stanford hosts Lafayette on Dec. 29 before its Pac-12 opener against USC on Jan. 3 in Los Angeles.
Friday's game can be heard live on KNBR 1050 AM and Stanford's official athletics website, www.gostanford.com, featuring another solo effort from veteran play-by-play announcer John Platz (play-by-play). The game will be televised on Big Ten Network with Dave Revsine (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (analyst).
Northwestern (8-3, 0-0 Big Ten) has dropped three of its last five after a 6-0 start ... The Wildcats, who are playing the third contest of a five-game homestand, are coming off a 74-68 victory over Texas State on Monday ... Northwestern is averaging 68.2 points and 36.3 rebounds per game while shooting 42.5 percent overall. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are limiting the opposition to 59.9 points per game and 40.1 percent shooting overall and 32.2 percent from the perimeter ... Make sure to watch: Reggie Hearn (14.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 42.6 percent 3FG), Dave Sobolewski
(12.0 ppg, 50.0 percent 3FG, 45 assists) and Jarred Swoopshire (9.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) ... Northwestern finished 19-14 last year and is coming off its fourth straight appearance in the NIT. It's the winningest four-year stretch in school history.
Stanford All-Time Against Northwestern
Stanford owns a 4-2 edge in the all-time series. The teams will be meeting for the fifth time in seven seasons, with Stanford having won three of the last four tilts. Northwestern posted a 70-62 home win back on Dec. 19, 2009, in the most recent matchup. Stanford is 1-1 in games played in Evanston, collecting a 71-60 victory on Nov. 15, 2007.
Takeaways From The NC State Game
Lorenzo Brown's 24 points led four players in double figures as NC State registered an 88-79 win over Stanford on Tuesday night ... NC State shot 56.1 percent overall, tallied 11 blocks and led for the entire game ... One of four players to score in double figures, Dwight Powell led Stanford with 23 points on 10-21 shooting to go with eight rebounds. It was the fifth 20-point game of the year for Powell, who has also led the Cardinal in scoring seven times ... Stanford protected the basketball, totaling 19 assists while committing only six turnovers ... The Cardinal entered the game averaging 25.3 attempts from the foul line, but finished just 4-6. Conversely, the Wolfpack cashed in at a 19-27 clip from the charity stripe ... Stanford was searching for its first win over a top-25 team since knocking off No. 17/18 Washington 58-56 back on Jan. 13, 2011 ... Stanford's 75 field goal attempts were the most in a regulation game since Dec. 28, 2009, in a 111-66 win over Texas Tech. The Cardinal attempted 92 shots in last year's 103-101 victory at Oregon State that took four overtimes to complete ... With analyst Drew Shiller on assignment, veteran radio play-by-play announcer John Platz was calling his first game solo since Feb. 20, 2010. Stanford is now 10-6 when Platz is behind the mic alone since the 2005-06 campaign ... Stanford has now made at least one three-pointer in 366 consecutive games, dating back to an 0-6 performance against Purdue in the John Wooden Tradition on Nov. 24, 2001.
All I Want For Christmas...
Stanford has entered the Christmas break on a loss for three straight seasons. The Cardinal, which will return to the court next Saturday against Lafayette, is searching for its first pre-Christmas victory since a 77-69 win at Santa Clara back on Dec. 23, 2008.
Finally, A Road Game
Tuesday's contest at NC State represented the first true road game of the year for the Cardinal, which had previously played six home games and four neutral-site contests. The Dec. 18 date was the latest Stanford had played a true road game since the 2010-11 campaign, when the Cardinal faced Butler, also on Dec. 18.
Tuesday's Bright Spot In Loss
One positive to come out of Tuesday's loss at NC State was the play of Aaron Bright. Last year's NIT Most Valuable Player, Bright poured in 16 points off the bench, making 6-9 overall while knocking down four three-pointers and dishing out four assists. It's been a rough start to the year for Bright, who has struggled to find his shooting stroke in addition to missing four games due to a sprained ankle. The coaching staff hopes Tuesday's game will jumpstart Bright, who averaged 11.7 points and shot 43.6 percent from deep last year.
Stanford Winning Despite Shooting Struggles...
It's been no secret that Stanford has struggled with its shooting, connecting at 40.4 percent overall and 26.2 from three-point territory. Those marks rank last in the Pac-12. The Cardinal has shot better than 40.0 percent just five times this year and has topped the 50.0 percent mark in only one contest. The extended cold stretch has been a surprise, considering the number of talented shooters on this year's team. Only one starter (Dwight Powell, 54.6) is shooting at least 50.0 percent from the floor.
...Because The Defense Has Been There
However, Stanford is holding its opponents to 63.6 points per game, a total that ranks fifth among Pac-12 teams. The opposition is shooting 39.9 percent from the floor, with six teams held to under 40.0 percent so far this year. And while the Cardinal has struggled from beyond the arc, its foes haven't fared much better. Stanford is the Pac-12's best team at defending the three, as opponents are shooting only 28.7 percent from long distance. That total also ranks 42nd in the nation.
Cardinal Productive From The Charity Stripe
Stanford has excelled at the free throw line, converting at a 74.9 percent clip to rank third in the Pac-12 and 36th nationally. Only once in the last six years has Stanford finished the season making 70.0 percent or better, and that came in 2008-09 when the Cardinal was slightly over the mark at 70.5 percent. Three players are connecting at better than 80.0 percent: Aaron Bright (85.7), Dwight Powell (84.2) and Chasson Randle (82.8). Earlier this year, Powell had made 18 in a row at one point while Randle owned a streak of 15 straight makes.