As the Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball team (7-3) heads out on the road for the first time this season they will be tasked with facing the number 25 ranked NC State Wolfpack (7-2) out the of the always strong ACC. This is the first in a two game road swing that takes Stanford to Northwestern three days from now.
So far this season Stanford has been shooting a measly 39.8 percent from the field and even worse from three, hitting only hitting about 1 of every 4 shots from behind the stripe at 26 percent. Both percentages rank dead-last in the Pac-12. The one bright spot on offense for the Cardinal this season has been Junior Dwight Powell who is the only member of the team shooting above 50 percent and in turn leads the team with 14.8 ppg, including 18-23 in his last two games. He’ll have to keep those averages steady to stay in the game against their ACC foe this evening.
On the defensive side of the ball Stanford is led by Junior Josh Huestis who leads the the team in rebounds (8.2 rpg) and ranks 15th in the nation with 2.9 blocks per game. This includes a blocking clinic Huestis put on against Seattle where he recorded 10 blocks on November 28th. The defense as a whole ranks 5th in the PAC-12 with 61.2 points allowed per game and they are the best in the conference at defending the three with opponents only knocking down 28.3 percent on the season. That defense will have to bring their A-game in order to give Stanford a shot against the dynamic NC State offense which is getting scoring from all over the floor this year. As a matter of fact, NC State has 4 players averaging double-digit points. The Wolfpack, led by freshman T.J. Warren, is averaging 14.6 ppg and shooting 69.1 percent from the field. The other 3 players in double digits are Richard Howell (14.1 ppg), C.J. Leslie (12.9 ppg) and Lorenzo Brown (11.7 ppg). Richard Howell has been on a tear of late with 3 straight double-doubles including 12 points and a career best 19 rebounds against Norfolk St. this past Saturday. In addition, NC State brings with them 4 returning starters from last year’s team which made it as far as the Sweet-16 during March Madness.
Standford’s biggest game of the season to date will be a good one as they pit their solid defense against a dynamic Wolfpack offense. This could be a great coming out party as well if the Cardinal can win the game which is also on national television, and can be a good boost on the way to March.
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