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Stanford Cardinal Game Preview & How to Watch

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The Huskies look to capitalize on their recent win at Washington State

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 2/18/21

Tip-Off Time: 8:00 pm PT

TV: FS1

Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570

Streaming: Foxsportsgo.com

Location: Seattle, Washington

Betting line: Washington +9.5

Stanford Cardinal 2020-21 Statistics:

Record: 13-8 (9-6)

Points For per Game: 71.3 ppg (160th)

Points Against per Game: 68.3 ppg (107th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 106.5 (107th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 91.6 (22nd)

Strength of Schedule: 36th

Stanford Key Players:

F- Oscar Da Silva, Sr. 6’9, 230: 19.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 57.3% FG, 32.5% 3pt, 79.0% FT

My computer modeling had Da Silva as the best player in the conference coming into the season and he hasn’t exactly made that prediction look bad. Da Silva is shooting 63.2% in the paint this season and is certain to tear up the Huskies inside. In the first game against UW he had 17 points and 10 rebounds.

F- Ziaire Williams, Fr. 6’8, 185: 11.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.4 apg, 37.7% FG, 31.1% 3pt, 83.7% FT

Williams is pretty much Jaden McDaniels without the technical foul issues. He was a fringe top-10 prospect with a lanky combo forward body that has had moments of brilliance but overall struggled with efficiency. He also recently missed 6 games due to injury and hasn’t looked great in the 2 games since he returned. In the first game against UW he had 12 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 7 turnovers (he hasn’t had more than 4 assists in any other game this year).

F- Spencer Jones, So. 6’7, 225: 8.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 42.9% FG, 37.1% 3pt, 65.5% FT

Jones has picked things up after a very slow shooting start to the year. He’s a prototypical 3 and D player as at 6’7 he’s 3rd on the team in block %, 1st in steal %, and 1st in 3-pt %. There’s no question that Jones is the one guy the Huskies can’t lose track of on the perimeter or he’ll make them pay again. In the first game against UW he had 18 points and 5 rebounds on 4/6 3-pt shooting.

G- Daejon Davis, Sr. 6’3, 190: 12.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 42.1% FG, 31.0% 3pt, 78.8% FT

Husky fans should be very familiar with Seattle native Davis who was a one-time UW commit before switching allegiances when Coach Romar was fired. He has never quite put it all together as a true point guard as a sub-35% career 3-pt shooter and a career turnover % as high as his assist %. It’s been a cursed year for Davis who has played just 8 of 22 games due to injury including 3 separate stints. He came back after a one month absence to play in Stanford’s last game and had 7 points and 5 assists in 25 minutes.

G- Bryce Wills, Jr. 6’6, 205: 8.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.4 apg, 57.5% FG, 16.7% 3pt, 36.6% FT

Wills is the other Stanford player bitten by the injury bug as he missed 8 games including the first one against UW before returning to action a few weeks ago. Even though he’s nominally a shooting guard he can’t shoot worth a lick. He works exclusively in the paint where he’s shooting 63.5% this season.

Stanford 2020-21 Shot Chart

Synergy Sports

Stanford Shot Chart From the First Game Against UW

Synergy Sports

The Outlook

The second half against Stanford last month was the first time that the Husky offense appeared to show signs of life. The Dawgs scored 54 points after managing just 21 in the first half. Of course, Stanford scored 53 on their way to 91 total and an easy double digit point victory but these are two very different teams than when they first met.

Unfortunately on Stanford’s end that’s mostly because they finally appear to be at full strength. The Cardinal spent much of the last 6 weeks missing either 2 or 3 starters but have everyone back in the lineup again. In their last game against Utah on Saturday they had a 16 point lead late in the 2nd half before a Utah comeback made the game look closer than it was. No Cardinal player played even 30 minutes and so this will be by far the most well-rested Stanford has been since the season began. That stands in stark contrast to Washington who will be playing their 4th game in 7 days although at least none of them have required leaving the state.

This Stanford team is designed to play bully ball and they do it well. Just about every metric shows exactly what Coach Haase wants. Stanford is 8th in average height and 334th in points coming on 3-pt shots, 31st on 2-pt shots, and 34th on free throw attempts. They will charge headlong at the hoop, unafraid of contact, and force the officials to make calls.

You can see above from the first shot chart that Stanford is wholly uninterested in taking midrange shots even if that’s what’s open against the zone. Until Nate Roberts or Riley Sorn show that they will consistently turn away layup attempts then Stanford will continue to try to get all the way to the rim. Given Washington’s penchant for fouling and for giving up offensive rebounds it doesn’t exactly bode well. Nate Roberts will need to play the game of his life for the Huskies to have a chance and absolutely must avoid the early ticky tack touch fouls.

When the Huskies have the ball it will certainly be a challenge as well. Stanford was 8th in defensive efficiency when they first played UW and have fallen to 22nd so they’ve tailed off a little in that regard but are still elite. There’s no single defensive element where they’re top-25 in the country but are above average in just about everything. It should help Washington that Quade Green is expected to return and be fully healthy. He wasn’t needed in Monday’s win over Washington State but the Huskies can’t rely on Marcus Tsohonis being absolutely on fire every game.

Stanford’s shortest rotation player is 6’2 and they essentially never play a lineup that has fewer than 3 players between 6’6 and 6’10 (and often play 4). Washington’s best chance in this game is to take advantage of their quickness mismatches on the perimeter and drive and kick with Green, Tsohonis, and Stevenson to open shooters. If the Huskies try to dribble headlong towards the paint without a plan as they’ve been baited into doing in recent games then we’re looking at another game where they shoot below 40% on 2-pointers.

The Husky defense has held 3 consecutive opponents below 70 points after not managing that feat in the previous 11 games. Maybe the Dawgs have finally turned the corner in that regard but Stanford is the type of team similar to USC that should be able to control the boards with minimal effort and will get 2nd and 3rd chances even if they don’t shoot a high percentage. Washington will have to find a way to convert in transition against a Stanford team that doesn’t take care of the ball but I don’t think it will be enough to keep things truly close.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 64, Stanford Cardinal- 75

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