7 PM PST -- Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum
Kenpom.com prediction: Cougs win 58-57 (62 possesions, 53 percent confidence)
Let's just cut to the chase. The Cougs need this one, bad. Regardless of what appeared to be on Thursday night, I really think this offense is close to at least somewhat putting it together. Now, by "putting it together" I mean "scoring just enough points to eke out a game," but that will have to do for now.
Of course, Stanford was undefeated coming into Pac-10 play, something most people didn't expect, even against their cupcake schedule. They've done it by embracing the Duke system Johnny Dawkins brought from Durham, N.C., hook, line and sinker. They're smally, but they space the floor well and attack the gaps in the defense. In three Pac-10 games, they've posted an average offensive efficiency of 104.6, although the only real legit defense they've faced has been Arizona State. The Sun Devils held the Cardinal to just 90.0, which ought to give us hope of slowing them down tonight.
Defensively, the Cardinal have been up-and-down in conference play. The one thing we know for sure is that they're not nearly as intimidating without the Lopez twins. Last year, they were 6th nationally in 2-point field goal percentage allowed; this year, they're 321st. At the risk of you-know-what, there ought to be a lot of opportunities inside against Stanford's incredibly undersized front line.
And don't underestimate the role emotion could play tonight for the Cougs. Grady said the team showed a bit of desperation for the first time on Thursday, and Taylor Rochestie made it very clear that he hasn't forgotten about last year:
“Stanford beat us three times in a row last year, so, for the guys who are returning, I think that’s enough motivation to come back and play well."
Let's hope so, because I think we've all had enough heartbreak at the hands of Stanford.
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