Preview & Prediction: By Fairway Jay
Stanford (11-1, 1-1) visits Washington (10-3, 1-0) Thursday night in Pac-10 play and the Huskies are riding an 8 game win streak during which they have outscored opponents by 20 points per game. Washington enters off a big road win over Washington State in their Pac-10 opener. Stanford bounced back from a 30-point home loss to Arizona State to take out Arizona without much intensity in the second half from the visiting Wildcats.
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins has the Cardinal playing more up-temp while also extending their defense up the floor. Senior guards Anthony Goods and Mitch Johnson along with senior forward Lawrence Hill have provided good leadership and play, and Landry Fields provides great energy while leading the team in rebounding. The challenge facing Stanford in this match-up is Washington’s strength inside, as the Huskies are the Pac-10’s top team in rebounding margin at +11.8; over ten rebounds more per contest than Stanford. Stanford hits the conference road for the first time this season, and in Stanford’s three road games against lesser opponents the Cardinal were out-rebounded in each contests while allowing at least 63ppg. Stanford’s perimeter defense has been good against lesser competition, yet Stanford is allowing over 53% shooting by opponents inside the arch, and Washington is shooting over 49% on 2-point field goals. Despite a soft early schedule, Stanford has allowed over 47% shooting by their opponents to rank last in the Pac-10.
Washington’s John Brockman is top-3 in conference rebounding at nearly 10 boards per game and forward Quincy Pondexter has improved his game and pulls down nearly six rebounds per contest as part of a more athletic front line with Justin Dentmon. Matthew Bryan-Amaning has nearly doubled his scoring and rebounding from his freshman season to add solid play as a reserve and also getting nearly six rebounds per game. Washington is playing up-tempo themselves, but the Huskies defense is improved this season. Tiny freshman point guard Isaiah Thomas showed he could really break down a defense in their game against Washington State, and he’s scored double digits in all but two games this season in a starting role.
Stanford comes off a pair of conference games against two teams that both implement a zone defense. They should enjoy an up and down game with Washington, but the Huskies are going to be pumped and ready for their conference opener knowing they lost to Stanford in both meetings last season, including a 14-point home loss. This contest should feature plenty of pace and possessions, and no surprise if Washington scores 80+.
Winner: Washington Margin 10-15 points
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About Fairway Jay
Previews & Predictions
Jay Ginsbach, also known as "Fairway Jay’"joins the CHN team and staff this season from Sportsmemo.com. He’ll provide his insight and expertise covering the college basketball scene with periodic thoughts from a Las Vegas perspective.