Well, we got the game against Stanford today. Last regular season game in Haas this year. There is a chance we might see some hot NIT action, but for now we gotta focus on the Cardinal coming to town. Last time Cal saw Stanford, it was all Lobsterback all the time down in Maples. However, since then, the Cal team has improved dramatically. Stanford has been fairly inconsistent.
To get a better bead on the Cardinal and White, we contacted Scott Allen over at Rule Of Tree to get the Stanford perspective. After the jump, check out his answers to our hard hitting questions. Questions such as "Predict A Score." So hard hitting! GO BEARS!
What has changed since you guys owned us down in Maples at the beginning of the Pac-10 season?
I think Cal has obviously improved while Stanford has been inconsistent from game to game. For every step forward the Cardinal has taken (home win over Washington), the team has taken an equal step back (home loss to Oregon). Johnny Dawkins has shuffled the lineup and altered the rotation in search of the right mix, and the players have gradually grown more comfortable playing with one another. While Stanford has struggled offensively for much of the season, the Cardinal has topped 70 points in six of its last eight games. Big deal, right? It is when you consider that Stanford hadn't scored at least 70 points in three consecutive games before February. Oh, and we're still pretty bad at free throws.
How have your freshman played vs. expectations - good, bad, or about what was expected?
On the whole, I’d say the freshmen have played about as well as was expected. If they haven’t quite met expectations, it’s because those expectations were too high. There was a lot of hype about this class heading into the season. All of the freshmen have had their moments—good and bad. Anthony Brown and Dwight Powell have stood out as the best of the bunch. I think Brown is the most likely to become a star over the next few years.
It seems like you guys have had lots of trouble on the road - even losing at OSU - what do you attribute this to?
I think a lot of it goes back to the fact that the team is so young and doesn’t have a senior on the roster. That said, this year's team has already won more road games against conference foes than last year's team won on the road all season. Stanford has also suffered from its lack of a true point guard. Junior Jarrett Mann has done an admirable job in that role, but he's really struggled to shoot the ball. His FT% (.495) looks more like a FG%, his FG% (.304) looks more like a 3P%, and his 3P% (.063) looks, well, ugly.
Do you think Coach Dawkins has laid a good foundation for the future?
I do. It’s been a rocky season and the Cardinal has played some awful, awful games (22% shooting at USC, the loss at Oregon State), but there are reasons to be excited for next season. Jeremy Green and Josh Owens could form one of the better inside-outside senior duos in the conference, while the freshmen will have a full year of experience under their belt. Stanford fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Chasson Randle, who chose Stanford, in part, because he wants to learn the point guard position from Dawkins.
Who is the biggest threat on offense for the Cardinal?
Jeremy Green has been on fire since snapping out of his mid-season slump. The junior has scored at least 20 points in seven of his last nine games and he’s found the stroke that helped him set the Stanford single-season record for 3-pointers made (93) a year ago. Barring a run in the Pac-10 tournament, he won’t reach that mark this season, but he did make an impressive 11 consecutive 3-pointers over a three-game stretch last month. Green also won’t be intimidated by the Haas Pavilion crowd.
Who is the biggest threat on defense for the Cardinal?
Mann is probably the Cardinal's best defender. He had three steals against the Golden Bears in the win at Maples Pavilion and could be responsible for containing Jorge Gutierrez on Saturday.
Predict a score!
Cal 75, Stanford 71. I think big games from Green and Powell keep Stanford close, but Gutierrez delivers the dagger in the final minute.