Cal Men's Basketball Pac-10 Preview: Stanford Cardinal

TwistNHook:  Gentlemen and gentlemen (hmmm, perhaps CGB needs Title IX), we need to start taking a lot at the Pac10 b-ball teams.  The Pac10 season is fast approaching and it will certainly be a difficult one.  Cal has shown some flashes of being a solid team so far, but also has had some rough moments.

First up, we take a look at the Stanford Cardinal.  They used to be the class of the conference, but have recently fallen upon hard times.  Even more recently, they fell on even harder times when they got upset by Murray State:

The Murray State men's basketball team opened their stay at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., with a 55-52 win over the Stanford Cardinal Thursday night.  The win was the first over a Pac-10 school since defeating Arizona in 1956.

The Racers, who led from start to finish, led by as many as 14 in the first half and then 29-18, made every play they needed to make to secure a win over the Cardinal on Thanksgiving Day.  Despite having their lead cut to four after a Jeremy Green three-pointer with 25.1 seconds remaining, MSU was able to advance to the semifinal match after making Stanford turn the ball over 18 times.

Cal plays Stanford at Haas to start the Pac10 season.  What do people think about the Stanford men's basketball team this year?  Don't be shy now!

NorCalNick: They should be pretty similar to us, at least in terms of inexperience and results.  Jeremy Green will probably be the most productive player on either team this year, but beyond him both teams are full of less talented veteran players and more talented freshmen growing into their roles.  As much as I want to bash Stanford for losing to Murray St., the Racers have been a solid team for a while now. 

The one advantage Stanford may have over Cal is depth - Monty, for now, is favoring a 7 man rotation with only rare appearances by Bak Bak, Nigel Carter and Emerson Murray.  Stanford, on the other hand, doesn't have a single player averaging 30 minutes a game, and 10 players playing 10 minutes or more.

Kodiak:  I hate 'furd.

But I have to give Dawkins some credit.  Last year, he took a team with one great player (Fields), one decent player (Green), and some stiffs...yet made them relatively competitive.  This year is going to be a roller coaster for them.  Green is a legitimate star and scoring threat.  They have a massive influx of athleticism from their freshmen class.  Like all young players, they're going to go through some growing pains.  But they also have talent that simply wasn't there before.  I was reluctantly impressed by Brown and Powell during the pre-season AA game.  We're probably going to really dislike them in a couple of years.

Just like us, they're going to be up and down all year.  They'll beat teams that shouldn't because they don't know better and they'll lose to teams in a head-scratching fashion.  They'll probably be a lot tougher at home than on the road.  Their length and athleticism worry me...But they're at least a year away from being skilled enough to really be a problem.  Unfortunately, it's hard to see where we're significantly better than they are.

We'll probably beat them at home...But it's a pick-em game at Maples with a slight edge to our guys.  Unlike us, they have a go-to guy for buckets during crunchtime.  However, we have more experienced bigs and are probably better defensively.  Because they're young, it's doubtful that they'll be able to play team defense well enough to make us struggle.  Then again, we do that well enough on our own.

Most pundits place them in the bottom third of the conference.  That's probably about right.  They have pieces, but this is the year where they take their lumps.

Avinash:  This team is very talented. I watched them play an average Virginia team and they went to the house with them. Their recruiting class definitely has some snap to them, probably more so than our Cal class. But like our team, they are young, and they have issues.

Just like Cal, three freshmen (Allen Crabbe, Gary Franklin, Richard Solomon for us) are playing a prominent role in the team rotation. Dwight Powell seems like the most athletically talented of the six players. He doesn't have a lot of post moves yet, but he's pretty good at taking it off the dribble and taking it to the hole. Markhuri Sanders-Frison and Harper Kamp are more post defenders (although Kamp has pretty decent mobility), so I'd expect some combo of Kamp/Solomon to be guarding Powell. Powell should have the advantage though in our first tango--you can't coach talent.

The two young guys are Anthony Brown and Aaron Bright. Brown seems to be a lot like Franklin--his shooting percentage is way down and he takes more shots than he should to earn his 6.8 points per game. Bright is the backup point guard, but he barely distributes the ball.

Currently, their numbers showcase similar offensive deficiencies as Cal's.

68.4 points per game (207th)
36.2 rebounds per game (184th)
11.4 assists per game (267th)
.447 field goal percentage (142nd)

(Their schedule hasn't been REALLY tough either.)

They're 99th in offensive efficency, and don't rank in the top 100 in any other major category that Pomeroy produces except blocks. We should win the rebounding battle, but the real fight should be their offense against our defense.

I'm really looking forward to playing them. It's going to be a very even contest in both games. A split would be very satisfactory.

Kodiak:  Very good points, Avi.

Having carefully analyzed the stats, and player profiles, there is only one conclusion:  I hate stanfurd.\

I have decided that it would be a good thing if we swept them this year.

LeonPowe:  I have decided that it would be a good thing if we swept them this year.

TwistNHook:  Do you see us finishing above Stanford in the Pac10?

Avinash:  Toss-up to me. We're pretty much a mirror of inexperience; they have better shooting and we have better bigs.

Usually bigs win in hoops, so I'll give us a slight edge.

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