Date: Thursday, 1/7/21
Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Santa Cruz, California
Betting line: Washington +10
Stanford Cardinal 2020-21 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 71.8 ppg (148th)
Points Against per Game: 66.2 ppg (74th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 106.6 (82nd)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 89.6 (8th)
Strength of Schedule: 40th
Stanford Key Players:
F- Oscar Da Silva, Sr. 6’9, 230: 19.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, 66.3% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 78.2% FT
My computer modeling had Da Silva as the best player in the conference coming into the season and he played like it particularly in Stanford’s last game when he had 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists against Oregon State. Da Silva is shooting a ridiculous 72.5% on 2-pt attempts this season and is certain to tear up the Huskies inside.
F- Ziaire Williams, Fr. 6’8, 185: 11.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.2 apg, 34.0% FG, 29.7% 3pt, 87.5% FT
Williams reminded a lot of Jaden McDaniels coming in as a 5-star long lanky combo forward and that comparison has mostly been apt. There have been some serious struggles putting the ball in the basket at times but you can see the flashes and the defensive effort is still there. He’s had 3 games of 16+ points this season but also had 6 turnovers in 2 of those games.
F- Spencer Jones, Jr. 6’6, 225: 6.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 36.5% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 53.8% FT
Last year Jones came in as an unheralded 3-star true freshman and instantly showed to be a 3-pt assassin making 43.1% of his long range shots. The numbers have taken a huge dip this year turning him from an ultra efficient option to a low usage marginal offensive piece. Expect him to stand on the perimeter waiting for an open look and hope he can heat back up.
G- Daejon Davis, Sr. 6’3, 190: 13.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, 44.4% FG, 29.4% 3pt, 80% FT
Davis has missed Stanford’s last 3 games due to injury so it’s uncertain if he’ll be able to suit up to play against his hometown school. He’s cut down his turnovers a little this year which has always been Davis’ weakness but his 3-pt shooting has also dropped a level to balance it out. When he’s in the game he gives Stanford an athletic option that is always a threat to take it all the way to the rim in transition.
G- Bryce Wills, Jr. 6’6, 205: 9.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 apg, 55.7% FG, 20.0% 3pt, 42.9% FT
This is another uncertain situation as Wills left Monday’s game with an lower leg injury, did not return, and his status is unknown for tonight. He has filled in at point guard in Davis’ absence and had a career high 6 assists against Oregon. It’s clear that Wills is never going to develop into a shooter (13/64 in his first 2 years) and he’s largely stopped trying, attempting only 5 total 3-pt shots so far this year.
Stanford 2020-21 Shot Chart
If it weren’t for the whole talent disparity angle this would seem to actually be a pretty decent matchup for Washington. The strength of this Stanford team is their interior play particularly on the defensive side. The Cardinal are allowing opposing teams to shoot just 42.2% on 2-pt attempts which is 16th nationally. Their 3-pt defense is middle of the road but their primary goal is to deny looks inside. In most games it seems the Huskies completely ignore the paint to launch 3-pointers so that may be all that’s available to them anyways.
When Stanford has the ball they’ll look to attack inside. The status of Daejon Davis and Bryce Wills is unclear right now which leaves the Cardinal with only 2 other players under 6’6. The Husky zone absolutely has to take 2 steps in towards the paint and be more willing to double team at the expense of giving up some open 3-point looks. This is one of the few teams in the country almost as bad at shooting from outside as Washington. Turning this into a brick laying contest at both ends is the best chance to keep things close.
Considering that Stanford is the 9th tallest team in the country they’re actually not very good at rebounding the ball. They rank middle of the pack on both ends which doesn’t mean they won’t have plenty of success against the Husky zone but it isn’t one of their natural strengths. If Washington is willing to concede a little more space on the perimeter it should help them rebound and take away Stanford’s biggest strengths.
The Huskies have had 3 straight games shooting 22% or worse from behind the 3-pt line. It’s really as simple as this. Washington will not win a game the rest of the way unless they are above average from deep for a normal team. If any 3 Huskies all make multiple 3-pt attempts then they have a chance to steal this game. There’s no reason to expect it to happen at this point but the vagaries of chance demand it at some point.
These definitely don’t appear to be normal circumstances for Stanford. They could potentially be missing their starting backcourt. They’re playing a home game in Santa Cruz. If things were to get weird for Washington (in a good way) you’d hope it would be tonight. Here’s to hoping.
Washington Huskies- 48, Stanford Cardinal- 67
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