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Stanford Cardinal Open Thread

Can the Huskies win their first Pac-12 road game of the season?

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 1/9/19

Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT


Radio: KOMO 1000


Location: Palo Alto, California

Betting line: Washington +2.5

Stanford 2019-20 Statistics:

Record: 12-2 (1-0)

Points For per Game: 72.0 ppg (142nd)

Points Against per Game: 58.3 ppg (7th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 101.7 (146th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 88.3 (16th)

Strength of Schedule: 320th overall

Stanford Key Players:

C- Oscar Da Silva, Jr. 6’9, 225: 17.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 60.4% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 81.7% FT

In Da Silva’s freshman season he was often played as a small forward in Stanford’s jumbo lineup. Now he’s a center with the ability to occasionally step out and hit a 3-pointer where he attempts about one shot per game. He’s only attempted 5 midrange shots all year so expect him to stay in the paint where he is shooting 65.4% this season. Oscar’s biggest weakness is his offensive rebounding which is good for UW.

F- Spencer Jones, Fr. 6’7, 195: 9.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 44.3% FG, 45.7% 3pt, 69.2% FT

Jones was a middling 3-star recruit but has come in and had an instant impact as one of the best shooters in the country. Jones is almost exclusively a 3-point sniper from the 4 spot and he gives Da Silva the spacing to operate down low. One consequence of having your power forward always behind the 3-point arc is that he has atrocious rebounding numbers for his size and position.

G- Bryce Wills, So. 6’6, 195: 6.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 41.9% FG, 19.0% 3pt, 48.3% FT

Wills plays more like a power forward despite being an inch shorter as he is a woeful shooter. He also struggles badly with turnovers and is the Hameir Wright of Stanford in that opposing teams can leave him open on defense and try to play 5 on 4 and he’s a tremendous defensive player.

G- Daejon Davis, Jr. 6’3, 185: 9.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.6 apg, 47.6% FG, 44.8% 3pt, 60.0% FT

The emergence of Tyrell Terry has allowed Davis to play more off the ball than he has at any other point in his Stanford career and it has helped his shooting percentages. Davis has generally been good for 3-4 assists and 2-3 turnovers every game but we’ll see what he does against UW. In the 2 career games against Hop in Seattle Davis combined for 7 assists and 12 turnovers but the 1 game played in Palo Alto was 9 assists to 1 turnover. Interestingly he has yet to attempt a midrange shot this season; everything is a drive to the paint or a 3-pointer.

G- Tyrell Terry, Fr. 6’2, 160: 15.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.3 apg, 46.9% FG, 40.3% 3pt, 89.2% FT

Terry might have the most out of nowhere performance for a freshman in the conference. He was a fringe top-100 player but leads Stanford in points per game and is 2nd in rebounds, assists, and steals. At 6’2 he somehow leads Stanford in defensive rebounding rate and will surely frustrate UW fans if he finishes with 7+ rebounds. He’s a much better shooter on the left side of the court so the front of UW’s zone will have to know the scouting report.

2019-20 Stanford Shot Chart

If this were a baseball team with the idea of being strong up the middle then Stanford would have failed. The Cardinal are fantastic finishing around the rim but otherwise are somehow not good lined up straight with the basket. They’re much more adept shooting from the wing which will likely stretch UW’s zone a little further beyond the 3-point line then they would like.

The Outlook

This is a perfect opportunity for Washington to make up for dropping the conference opener at home against UCLA. The NET rankings adore Stanford and it’s not entirely clear why. They have two incredibly good losses: by 1 point on a neutral to Butler and at home against Kansas. Both of those teams would be a top-2 seed in the NCAA tournament if the season ended today. But their best win was over Oklahoma and their second best...San Francisco? Santa Clara? Stanford is essentially 1-2 with an even point differential against the only 3 teams with anywhere close to as much talent as Washington has.

So far Stanford’s calling card has been their defense. In years past Stanford has trotted out jumbo lineups that look like Washington this season but this year they’ve downsized a little and yet improved on the defensive end. Despite only having two true bigs on the roster, at 6’9 and 6’10, Stanford has been the best team in the country defending post-up attempts. Opponents have scored just 3 combined points in 34 opposing post-ups. It will truly be strength on strength with Isaiah Stewart with the 100th percentile post-up defense going against Washington’s 97th percentile post-up offense.

Knowing that there has been solid rim protection has allowed Daejon Davis and Tyrell Terry to wreak havoc on the perimeter for opposing ball handlers. Stanford is 20th nationally in forcing turnovers and Quade Green will need to play one of his best games against their pressure defense.

While they’ve clearly been better on that end of the court so far it isn’t as if Stanford doesn’t have a good offense. The Cardinal can absolutely shoot the lights out. They’re 10th nationally in 3-pt percentage even though they’re fairly choosy about bombing away from behind the arc. Expect to be frustrated as Stanford is #1 in the country in nailing catch and shoot opportunities while guarded. The Huskies can close out hard in their zone and get a hand in shooters’ faces and they’ll still knock them down. Stanford is actually shooting almost 10% worse when left unguarded which feel like a fluke that will correct itself over the season but it’s been true so far.

The reason why Stanford has a very middling offense despite the hot shooting is that they rarely have a possession advantage. That is a battle of weakness against weakness with Washington who has just given away possessions over the last month. The Cardinal are 309th in offensive rebound percentage and if there’s one team the Huskies might have an advantage over in that area despite the zone it might be Stanford. They’re also 282nd in turnover percentage so Stanford is prone to giving the ball away at times. If UW attempts more shots than Stanford over the course of the game it will be a good omen considering how infrequently that’s happened.

With two of the best defenses in the country going against one another you can expect this one to be low scoring and come down to the wire. This game looks to be a near toss up but Washington has been competitive even when they’ve been dominated on the offensive glass and now they finally go against a team that really struggles in that area. I think it allows the Huskies enough extra possessions to overcome going against a tough defense.


Washington Huskies- 62, Stanford Cardinal-59


With the breaking news that Quade Green has been ruled academically ineligible and will be unavailable for at the least the next 2 months it means I would change the above prediction to a Husky loss. But I’m leaving it up there for the season that could have been. Sigh.


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