Team of the Week: Stanford
Stanford (14-5, 6-3 Pac-10)
RPI: 30 (kenpom.com)
Strength of Schedule: 15 (overall), 99 (non-conference)
Games last week: W 65-50 vs. then-#25 (AP) USC, W 75-68 vs. then-#3 (AP)/#2 (Coaches) UCLA
Early in the season it looked like the Cardinal were destined to make another trip to the NIT, especially after the 79-45 beating they took from Air Force early in the season. Talk of who would get a sixth NCAA berth from the Pac-10 usually didn’t include this young team, but that all has changed in the past week. Of course, the impressive blowout of USC and the comeback victory over the Bruins on Sunday night are the reasons why Stanford is the team of the week, but the resurgence can be traced back to a 76-75 win at Virginia January 7th. Including that win, clinched by a Lawrence Hill floater with 0.9 seconds remaining, Stanford has won six of their last seven games with the only defeat being a hard-fought 66-59 decision at Oregon.
On Thursday night, Brook Lopez put up an 18-point, 11-rebound, 12-block triple-double, and no one knows for sure whether or not there are any other triple-doubles in school history. Sunday saw both Lawrence Hill (22) and Anthony Goods (20) put up at least twenty points as Stanford stormed back from a seventeen point deficit to knock off UCLA. With their next two games at home (Gonzaga, California), Stanford can do even more for their NCAA Tournament prospects.
Honorable Mention: Arkansas (became the first SEC West team to win a conference road game in their win over Alabama);George Washington (beat St. Joseph’s and Rhode Island to move into first place in the Atlantic 10); Virginia Tech (road wins over Miami and Georgia Tech gave the Hokies sole possession of first place in the ACC); East Tennessee State (road wins over Belmont and Lipscomb gave the Bucs a two-game lead in the Atlantic Sun); Georgia (Home wins over Kentucky and LSU put the Bulldogs into the NCAA Tournament conversation).