Game Preview: Stanford

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by: Griffin Bennett

Who: Stanford (13-10, 6-6) @ Washington (16-7, 8-4)

When: Saturday, February 11th at 5:30pm

Where: The Hangar at Hec-Ed

TV: FSN NW: Grainy HD Now Available!

After seeing the potential that this team has, in Thursday’s game against Cal, the last two weeks became that much more inexplicable. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the pageantry that this team can create, and I thought they improved in many areas that needed work, but there’s a long road ahead of them. It was a great first step and Stanford is next on the list. The Cardinal hold the honor of being the first Pac-10 team to beat the Huskies on the road this year. The Cardinal beat the Huskies 56-58 in Palo Alto in the first game after Abdul Gaddy went down for the season. The Huskies were up 11 points with 8:55 left in the second half but they couldn’t close out the game. The game ended with some horrible plays, as Scott Suggs missed a wide open three-pointer to take the lead in the last seconds, followed by Justin Holiday missing a free-throw, down two, with 5 seconds left. A brutal ending that hinted at the Huskies future troubles away from Hec-Ed.

Saturday should be a different story for both teams. As we have all seen, the Huskies play exceptionally well at home and Stanford has struggled on the road this year, as they have lost 5 of 7 road games this season. However, the Cardinal are coming off of a huge road victory at Pullman on Thursday that should have them feeling confident. Much like the Huskies on Thursday, Stanford shot at a blistering pace against the Cougars. They were 9 of 16 from deep and 25 of 50 from the field. At 6-6 the Cardinal still think they’re in the hunt for some sort of post-season birth and building towards the future.

Cardinal 101:

Not much has changed with the Cardinal since the last time we saw them. It’s still Jeremy Green and Josh Owen‘s team. Green runs the perimeter with 15.3 ppg, 3 rpg, and shoots 42% from three, while Owens runs the post with 11.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, and shoots 57% from the field. Green is quite one dimensional as he is a great jump shooter and that’s about it. He only shoots 39% from the field and isn’t a great dribble driver. Owens, however, is a big 6’8 forward that does everything a well. He is coming off of a terrible injury that kept him out all of last year and is slowing rediscovering his game.

As for role players, Stanford is full of them. Starting off, our favorite dunk receiver, Andrew Zimmerman, has had his minutes greatly reduced. In their last four games, he has only played in two of them for a maximum of 4 minutes. Oh well. It has been a youth movement in Palo Alto as Dwight Powell, Anthony Brown, John Gage, Josh Huestis, and Aaron Bright are all freshman and playing huge minutes. Against Washington State on Thursday, Powell and Brown started while the other freshman were 3 of their 4 bench players. That is impressive. Their rotation of 9 consists of 5 freshman.

Leading the freshman parade is 6’9 Dwight Powell who averages 9 ppg and 4.9 rpg and 6’6 Anthony Brown who averages 7.6 ppg and 2.6 rpg. The bench consists of two former Washington state prospects in Bellevue’s Aaron Bright and Vashon Island’s John Gage. They’re both good role players that are being forced to play big minutes when they probably should be in a reduced role. The future is very bright (no pun intended) for this Stanford team and their recent success this year makes me scared as to what they could develop into down the road. This year, however, they are still just a bunch of freshman helping out a couple above average players.

I have to briefly mention Jarrett Mann and Jack Trotter as they are both juniors and play minutes as well. So there you go.

Projected Starting Line-up:

G: Jarrett Mann – 6’4, 190

G: Jeremy Green – 6’4, 198

F: Anthony Brown – 6’6, 200

F: Dwight Powell – 6’9′, 227

C: Josh Owens – 6’8′, 230

Angelo Chol visits Montlake:

Saturday will be a huge day not only because of the game. Angelo Chol, a 6’9 recruit out of San Diego, is on his official visit this weekend and will be attending the Stanford game. Chol is one of the best players left uncommitted in the country and looks to be key if the Huskies want to replace MBA after the year is over. Chol has announced that he will be announcing his decision on February 17th (next week) so Washington has the last chance to impress the young man. Not by coincidence, Tony Wroten and Hikeem Stewart are also having their official visit this weekend. Wroten and Stewart have both already committed to Washington and have been recruiting Chol in their own right. I’m sure that both of them will be right next to Chol the whole weekend.

With the Huskies losing both MBA and Holiday out of the front court after this year, Chol has become the linchpin in this years recruiting class. If the Huskies can grab him, they will look to reload rather than rebuild in 2011-12. I’m sure Romar and his team will put their absolute best foot forward and try to show Chol what UW is all about. Their biggest selling point will definitely be playing time.

Chol is set to chose between UW, Arizona, North Carolina, Kansas, and Alabama. Most people believe that he is leaning toward the west coast schools and that it will come down to Arizona and Washington. Arizona fans want you to believe that he is leaning their way, but don’t believe the hype just yet. The Huskies have a real chance at this and Romar has a magnetic personality.

Hey, Dawg Pack! I want you kissing his butt all night and you need to have at least 2 different chants each half directed toward him. Don’t harass him but show him some Husky love.

If you want to read more about Angelo Chol and his back story, check out this piece that I wrote last summer on him.

Keep your fingers crossed and hope to read about his glowing reviews of UW on Monday.

…back to the game….

Keys to Victory:

  • 40 minutes of intensity – Romar said that the Huskies played with 39 minutes on Thursday and I want to see a full 40 against Stanford. Intensity leads to defense, which leads to turnovers, which leads to offense, which leads to wins. I want to see their coaches complaining about hard fouls just like Cal did. I want it to be the “all I saw was purple” moment of basketball.
  • Stick on Green – Don’t let him catch and shoot the ball. Deny passes and force their young squad make plays from the perimeter. It should be another big day for Holiday, but I could also see Thomas trying his turn on Green. I hope he doesn’t, but I wouldn’t be suprised.
  • Passing and Ball control – The assist numbers were amazing against Cal and I hope the Husky offense can build off of that. It was great to see MBA getting the ball in the paint and passing it out to the open man on the perimeter. Let the game come to them.
  • Run them off the court – They have a rotation of 9, but only 6-7 of them can actually contribute. The Huskies need to exploit their lack of depth and make them beg for a timeout.

Prediction:

As you can see, my theme of the day is ruthlessness. I want to see “the look”. The one that Holiday gets when he drains his a three after creating a turnover. The one the IT gets when he draws an and-one. The one Venoy has…. always. I want to see their foot on the Cardinal’s collective throat with 10 minutes left in the second half. The Huskies need to send a message to the rest of the league that when you push a Dawg into a corner you’re going to get bit. Just like for Cal, I almost feel sorry for Stanford. Huskies win 95-78. Bow Down.