Feb. 25, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Josh Owens (13) blocks the shot of Utah Utes guard Anthony Odunsi (3) as Cardinal forward Dwight Powell (33) defends from behind during the first half in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE
Last game of the regular season. Last opportunity to potentially get some of that sweet, sweet Pac-12 title. Cal takes on Stanford down at Maples. It should be a good game. That loss to Colorado was rough, no doubt about it. But it nigh time to put it behind us. Or is it just regular non-night time? I am not 100% on exactly what nigh time is, to be honest with you. This is an honest space and I think we should be honest with each other. Honest not just about our fears and our concerns, but also how we think Cal will do against Stanford this Sunday.
To find out more about the red and whites (but not about what, potentially, nigh time is), we talked with Scott Allen at Rule Of Tree. They've got all the information that we need to know in advance of the big game tomorrow. Check out their answers after the jump. Many thanks to Scott Allen and Rule Of Tree for their awesomeness.1. What did Stanford do to shut down the very Colorado team that beat Cal?
Stanford played well defensively, as they have for most of the season, but Colorado was ice cold from the field in the first half of the Cardinal's blowout win in Boulder. The Buffs missed a lot of open looks and Stanford didn't give up many second-chance opportunities, doubling up Colorado on the glass. Stanford hit seven first-half 3-pointers to build a huge lead and cruised from there despite committing 18 turnovers.Then they went and lost to Utah. If there's one team Colorado really doesn't want to see in the Pac-12 Tournament, it's Stanford.
2. What can Stanford do differently at Maples that it did not do against Haas earlier in the year?
The Cardinal needs to -- and should -- shoot better than 2-for-15 from 3-point range. It would also help if Dwight Powell could play more than 15 minutes before fouling out and Stanford shot better than its season average (65%) from the free throw line. That's probably asking too much.
3. Is the loss to Utah a potential coach killer, or does it simply heap more pressure on Coach Dawkins to excel in 2012-13?
The Utah loss was awful, but I don't think it will cost Dawkins his job unless Stanford ends the season in similarly disappointing fashion. A lackluster performance in a blowout loss against Cal and a first-round exit in the Pac-12 tournament could lead to a change, but I still question whether Bob Bowlsby will fire Dawkins after giving him a contract extension last summer. If Dawkins returns, there will be enormous pressure on him next season. If Stanford doesn't make the tournament in 2013, he's gone.
4. At the beginning of the year my view was that Stanford would succeed or fail based on how their sophomores (Aaron Bright, Dwight Powell, Anthony Brown) developed. How do Stanford fans feel about their progress this year?
They haven't progressed as much as most fans were hoping/expecting. Bright started out the season on fire, but has since been inconsistent. Nagging injuries to Powell and Brown at the beginning of the season may have slowed their development. Bright has nearly doubled his scoring output from last year while playing 10 more minutes per game, but Brown and Powell's scoring and shooting numbers have gone down. That's hardly progress.
Stanford will miss Owens quite a bit. His numbers aren't eye-popping, but he's easily the Cardinal's best post player and the team's closest thing to a go-to guy (except when teams double-team him and he goes long stretches without taking a shot). In addition to boasting the Pac-12's best beard, Zimmermann has provided a spark off the bench in a few games. Mann and Trotter have mostly contributed minutes. Some Stanford fans might argue that Mann, a Dawkins favorite, has contributed too many minutes. By all accounts they're good guys -- Trotter is a senior class president -- but their production won't be missed.
6. Who is the #1 player on offense that Cal fans should know about?
Freshman guard Chasson Randle. He had a quiet night in the first meeting (8 points in 19 minutes) but he's been one of the bright spots in a conference season full of disappointments of late. He needs to shoot the 3 well for Stanford to have a chance against Cal. He's 21-for-33 from beyond the arc in the last six games.
7. Who is the #1 player on defense that Cal fans should know about?
Josh Huestis. Another sophomore, Huestis had four of his team-high 33 blocks this season against the Bears. He's freakishly athletic, rebounds pretty well, and is one of the most improved players on the team this year. Unfortunately he doesn't have much of an offensive game.
8. Predict a score.
64-58 Cal. FTs down the stretch are the difference.