Stanford Seeks Road Success vs. Northwestern: Game Preview


Nov 15, 2012; Palo Alto, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal guard Aaron Bright (2) dribbles the ball up the court against the Alcorn State Braves at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanford Cardinal (7-4) head to Welsh-Ryan Arena to face their second Big 10 foe of the season in the Northwestern Wildcats (8-3). This also marks the second game of their two game road swing before heading back home to face Lafayette on the 29th of December.  They’ll look to rebound from their tough loss at NC State three days ago.

In order for the Cardinal to get back on track in the win column they are going to have to get back to basics, and that means getting to the charity stripe.  Prior to only getting to the line 6 times all game against NC State, Stanford was averaging 25.3 free throw attempts per game.  The Cardinal will want to get back to basics and attack the basket in order to get to the line.

The Stanford Cardinal will also look for Aaron Bright continue to improve his production.  He has started the season off on a slump shooting just 32%, but last game was able to contribute 16 points off the bench including 4-7 from behind the arc and 6-9 total from the field.  If he can start to become as productive as he was last year it would be a great help to the Cardinal offense who relies heavily on the production of leading scorer Dwight Powell (15.5 ppg) and second leading scorer Chasson Randle (14.1 ppg).  Having Bright as a third option would add much needed depth to the struggling offense against a Northwestern defense that is keeping opponents to 40.1 percent shooting overall and 32.2 percent from the perimeter; both of which have been a problem all year for Stanford.

The Northwestern Wildcats are coming off of a 74-68 win over Texas State.  This was their first game without second leading scorer Drew Crawford who is out for the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.  His 13.5 ppg was second to Reggie Hearn (14.2 ppg) on the team and the Wildcats will have to look to someone else in the roster to step up and put up some points.

The Wildcats are also 17th in the nation at 17.1 assists per game and as such are a very unselfish team.  The Stanford defense will have stay lively both on and off the ball with the ball movement skills that the Wildcats possess.  Sophomore guard Dave Sobolewski leads the team with 4.1 assists per game and will have to be a guy the defense keys on considering his ability to pass and his 12.0 ppg.

In order to pull out a win Stanford will have to be aggressive on the offensive side of the ball and will need to rotate well defensively to slow down the Wildcats’ passing game.  If they can do those two things, as well as continued contributions from those not named Dwight Powell, look for Stanford to come out of this game on top.