Game Preview: Arizona @ Stanford

King of the Hill

King of the Hill

From 1998-2004 Arizona and Stanford ran the table in the PAC-10. During the seven year period Arizona and Stanford have won or tied for the PAC-10 Championship six times. But both teams are now a far cry from their more dominant days. Arizona is inexperienced and seems to have more questions than answers right now. Meanwhile, Stanford has no inside presence and is still looking for their first quality win. Can Arizona finally get their first true road win, or will Stanford prove that their perfect record wasn’t a fluke?

At the start of the season, Stanford was written off, dubbed the 8th or 9th best team in the conference. This was all due to the Lopez twins departure for the NBA combined with a weak recruiting class courtesy of their departed coach, Trent Johnson. The Cardinals six impact players (Goods, Hill, Fields, Owens, Johnson, and Brown) this year combined for 35 points a game a season ago, with one player getting 10 a game. Those same six players have nearly doubled their offensive production  with 66 of the Cardinals 77 points a game.

These numbers would indicate that each of these players, Anthony Goods and Landry Fields in particular, simply needed the opportunity to score and got just that when the Lopez twins left. I don’t buy it though. Remember, their stats have come from playing teams like Yale, CSU Northridge, and Texas Tech. Even in a down year the PAC-10 has better teams 1-9 than the 10 teams they played in their OOC schedule. A weak OOC schedule simply equates to inflated stats. With a similar schedule a year ago these six players’ point production dropped once they reached PAC-10 play.

So, what can we expect from a back-court propelled Stanford in this match-up? We can expect weak interior defense, but pressure defense around the perimeter. The frontcourt for both teams matches up quite well with Wise & Johnson at the point, Fogg’s defense going up against Goods’ offense, and Budinger and Fields going toe-to-toe.
Is Stanford (9-0) a legit PAC-10 Contender?
( polls)

Four Keys to the game:

  1. #34 where are you?  Budinger has been less than spectacular offensively the past few games. His shooting percentage has dropped significantly. He needs to find his stroke, especially if Hill’s leg injury continues to linger.  Last year Budinger averaged 16 points a contest while shooting over 43% from beyond the arc. Pennell needs to work some set plays for Budinger into the mix to get him going again.
    Predicted Need: Budinger 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 40% shooting
  2. King Hill: Jordan Hill is by and large a superior to Stanford’s Lawrence Hill. Get Jordan his touches and continue to work through him – so long as his leg is healthy.
    Predicted Need: Hill 16 points, 11 rebounds, 35 minutes
  3. Wisen Up: Along with an eye on Hill’s foul trouble and playing time, this seems to be a recurring theme. Wise has a terrible habit of over-penetration and becomes ineffective around the rim. It’s one thing to play for contact when you’re a big man. But at 5’10” don’t pump fake on a fast-break lay-up to get the “And-One.” Play smart, look to pass, and allow the game to come to you.
    Predicted Need: Wise 12 points, 7 assists, 2 or fewer turnovers.
  4. Those “other” guys: Stanford’s guards know how to play. They can get to the rim and finish, and have the ability of applying enough defensive pressure to be annoying. Horne and Fogg, the “other guys,” need to continue to step it up. Fogg took a step back against CAL, while Horne had a delayed start. Both guys need to be ready to play when the ball tips off from here on out.
    Predicted Need: Combined 18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, fewer than 5 turnovers

2 Responses to “Game Preview: Arizona @ Stanford”

  1. 1 bleez January 4, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    This is not looking like its going to end well… sick dunk by chase

  2. 2 naterb January 4, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Definitely a sick dunk by Budinger – I was hoping that would get him going, but it just doesn’t seem like he wants it.

    I always try and put a positive spin on all my previews and recaps, but I am NOT looking forward to typing this one up.

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January 2009
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PAC-10 Power Rankings

1. Cal 2. Washington 3. UCLA 4. Arizona 5. Oregon 6. Oregon State 7. Arizona State 8. Washington State 9. Stanford 10. USC

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