Stanford Takes On #7 Arizona: Game Preview


Dec 18, 2012; Raleigh, NC, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Josh Huestis (24) and forward Dwight Powell (33) box out North Carolina State Wolfpack forward Richard Howell (1, center) during the second half at PNC Arena. North Carolina State won 88-79. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanford Cardinal (14-8, 5-4 Pac-12) take on the seventh ranked team in the nation the Arizon Wildcats (19-2, 7-2 Pac-12) this evening at the McKale Center in Tucson, AZ.

Both teams have won three-straight with the Wildcats in a tie for first place in the Pac-12 Conference.  Stanford is trying to keep up with the rest of the pack after a rough start to conference play.

Arizona is coming off of a win over Washington State and has pulled into a tie with Oregon for tops in the conference, although Oregon has not been the same since they lost their starting point guard.  With a win tonight they have a chance to take first place for themselves until at least tomorrow when the Ducks face the Colorado Buffaloes.

The Cardinal are are coming off a great win against Oregon State where they made a season-high 14 three-pointers.  A month ago that would not have even seemed possible with Stanford’s struggles shooting the ball during the season.  Now, however, they are firing on all cyliners.

The Wildcats are led by guard Mark Lyons and his 14.9 points per game.  Teammates Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson are also averaging more than 10 points a game with Hill at 13.6 per game and Johnson at an even 13.  Doing the dirty work on the boards for the Wildcats are Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski who each average 5.8 rebounds per game.

Josh Huestis was last week’s Pac-12 player of the week and is averaging 14.3 points and 11 rebounds over the three-game Cardinal win streak, including back-to-back double-doubles.  He has been a big part of their recent success, and overall this season he is averaging 9.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game

Along with him are Stanford’s top two scorers Dwight Powell and Chasson Randle are averaging 14.4 and 14.2 points per game, respectively.  Powell is also pulling down 7.7 rebounds a game, good for second on the team.

Having recently beat the best team in the conference the Oregon Ducks will give the Cardinal a lot of confidence for this game.  They have been playing their best basketball of the season during this stretch and I expect that to continue.  Besides, in order to beat a great team like the Wildcats they will have to be at their best.

I fully expect a great game between the two hottest teams in the conference tonight and would not be surprised if the game were to be a bit higher scoring tonight.  Both teams can put points up on the board, and with Stanford shooting well over its last few games coupled with the amount of long-distance shots they take it could be a shootout.