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Stanford Cardinal Game Preview and Open Thread

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The Huskies look to salvage their Bay Area road trip with a win against Stanford

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, 1/14/16

Tip-Off Time: 5:00pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: Komo 1000

Stanford Statistics:

Record: 9-8 (1-4)

Points For per Game: 68.9 ppg

Points Against per Game: 70.6 ppg

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 102.7 (194th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 97 (52nd)

Stanford Key Players:

F- Michael Humphrey, Jr. 6-9, 245: 8.4ppg, 5.4rpg, 1.1apg, 40.2% FG, 71.4% FT, 21.4% 3pt

Humphrey leads Stanford in % of shots taken when he’s on the floor so the Cardinal like to try to feed him when he’s on the court. He’s a great rebounder but is not shooting well from the floor and if he comes close to leading Stanford in shot attempts, that’s a win for UW.

F- Reid Travis, Jr. 6-8, 245: 17.5ppg, 9.3rpg, 0.3apg, 57.6% FG, 67.8% FT

Travis has been the star for Stanford this season, leading the team in points and rebounds and averaging nearly a double double. He missed two games recently with a shoulder injury but came back in time for the Wazzu game and appeared to be fine. Reid will be a challenge for the Washington front line as he’s a fantastic rebounder and one of the best in the country at drawing fouls. UW defenders will have to play strong in the post to have any hope of containing him.

G- Dorian Pickens, Jr. 6-5, 215: 13.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.6apg, 44% FG, 73.5% FT, 38.6% 3pt

Pickens is the only real outside shooting threat for the Cardinal and should probably be the focus of the UW defensive game plan given their propensity to lose shooters. Over half of his attempts are from beyond the arc and he’s shooting a good percentage while also leading the team in minutes.

G- Marcus Allen, Sr. 6-3, 190: 4.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 1.4apg, 34.1% FG, 63.6% FT, 19% 3pt

Allen is a starter for the Cardinal but he’s having a horrible season. He’s shooting 19% from three and 37% from two with almost twice as many turnovers as assists. Any time that UW can put the ball in his hands is great news for the Dawgs.

G- Robert Cartwright, So. 6-2, 180: 7.4ppg, 1.8rpg, 3.4apg, 38.1% FG, 85.7% FT, 30.4% 3pt

Cartwright is the primary ball handler with Stanford and while not a spectacular shooter, is good enough that the Dawgs will have to respect his 3-point shot. He also leads the team in steals and will likely end up on Fultz for most of the game.

The Outlook

The Cardinal are essentially the same team as Cal except for slightly worse in just about every area. They start two bigs without an outside game but both are 6-9 rather than 6-11. Stanford is better on defense than offense, but unlike Cal who is average on offense and spectacular on defense, the Cardinal are below average on offense and merely good on defense.

Let’s start with that offense. Stanford is a terrible shooting team. While Washington has certainly shown the ability to turn anyone they face into Steph Curry, this appears to be a good matchup in that regard. The Huskies have 5 of the top 6 shooters in this game by 3pt% and the top Cardinal would be 4th. Stanford is slightly below average both at getting offensive rebounds and at holding onto the ball so they aren’t going to give themselves many second chances either.

The ability to get to the free throw line is by far their best offensive trait and is almost solely due to Reid Travis’s status as one of the national leaders in that regard. The easiest route to a successful offensive outing from Stanford is getting the UW front line in foul trouble and pounding the glass when Green is forced to play the 4. Regardless, I expect to see the Huskies pull out a decent amount of zone in this game to protect the bigs and force Stanford to show it can consistently make 3-pointers.

When UW has the ball it will be strength on strength as Stanford is 19th nationally in defensive rebound percentage and the Huskies are 18th in offensive rebound percentage. Whoever can win that battle on the glass will have a tremendous advantage. Luckily for the Huskies, the Cardinal’s biggest defensive weakness is the Huskies’ other big strength as Stanford is almost as bad at defending the three-point shot as the Dawgs. Expect the Dawgs to try to get plenty of drive and kick action with Fultz to free up Crisp and Thybulle on the perimeter for open looks when Stanford packs the paint.

This is the 3rd game in a row that the Dawgs will play a bad offense so it’s tough to tell if the defensive improvements they have seemingly made are real or a result of the reduced opposition. Given that they looked atrocious against even average scoring teams in the non-conference, I’m tempted to think we are seeing the result of a young team learning to play together better. Stanford is not a better team than Washington right now and if Fultz rebounds from the first true stinker of his college career then UW will have the best player on the floor and an opponent they seemingly matchup very well against. If UW can show as much heart and effort in this game as they did against Cal then I think they will pull off their first road victory of the year.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 72, Stanford Cardinal- 67