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Stanford Cardinal vs. Washington Huskies Game Preview & How to Watch

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 1/17/19

Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT

TV: ESPN2

Streaming: Espn.com/watch

Radio: KOMO 1000 AM/97.7 FM and TuneIn

Location: Seattle, Washington

Betting Line: Washington -10.5

Stanford 2018-19 Statistics

Record: 8-8 (1-3)

Points For per Game: 73.1 (164th)

Points Against per Game: 73.6 (208th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 104.1 (161st)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 99.8 (104th)

Strength of Schedule: +5.04 (33rd)

Stanford Key Players

C-Josh Sharma, Sr. 7’0, 230: 7.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.3 bpg, 64.2% FG, 65.6% FT

If you haven’t watched Stanford before then you probably expect Sharma to be a lumbering big guy like Sam Timmins but he’s got some serious hops and ferocity to him and loves dunking on people’s heads. He’s in the top-100 nationally in 2-pt %, block %, and offensive rebound % so he’ll do all the dirty work and then occasionally be rewarded with a dunk. But he’s fouling at an even higher rate than Sam Timmins which is why he’s only playing 17 minutes per game despite great per minute numbers.

F- Oscar Da Silva, So. 6’9, 225: 9.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, 45.4% FG, 25.7% 3pt, 58.6% FT

Last year Da Silva shot 55.8% on 3-pointers and that number is down to 25.7% this season. Why the dramatic droppoff? His FG% on guarded catch and shoot jumpers is down from 57% (best in the country) to 14% (4th percentile nationally). His actual percentage is probably somewhere in the middle but the Huskies better hope he doesn’t rediscover his outside shot tonight.

F- Kezie Okpala, So. 6’9, 215: 17.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 49.2% FG, 47.9% 3pt, 71% FT

You could tell last season that Okpala was custom-built for today’s NBA if he could put everything together. And he’s done that so far leading Stanford in points and rebounds per game in order to compensate for the loss of Reid Travis to Kentucky. He’s the reverse Da Silva as his 3-pt % has gone up from 22.6% last year to 47.9% this season and his contested jump shot percentage has gone up from 11% to 50%. There’s a very real chance that Okpala jumps to the NBA after this season and becomes a 1st round draft pick.

G- Cormac Ryan, Fr. 6’5, 190: 10.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.9 apg, 35.9% FG, 33.9% 3pt, 80.5% FT

Ryan was the star of Stanford’s recruiting class billed as a combo guard with size who was a great shooter. He’s struggled with the shooting part so far as about 75% of his shots have come from outside the arc and he’s only making one-third of them. But he is 8/14 shooting from the corners so if UW loses track of him (particularly Jaylen Nowell who has struggled in this regard) then he can still make UW pay.

G- Daejon Davis, So. 6’3, 185: 12.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.4 apg, 45.9% FG, 34.9% 3pt, 71% FT

The former UW signee has tantalizing talent but is still working to put it all together. Davis’s turnover rate was astronomical last season and it’s still a problem but it has certainly gotten better. His efficiency numbers are pretty even with his freshman year however he’s taking more shots and being more assertive without Reid Travis soaking up so many possessions.

2018-19 Stanford Shot Chart

Stanford is another team that has mostly cut out the midrange game from their shot chart. They’ve only taken a little over 2 shots per game that aren’t from behind the 3-pt arc or in the paint. But even though they’re taking the mathematically corect shots they aren’t all that good at them. There is no segment of the chart below in which they’ve taken more than 3 shots per game at which they’re above average.


Synergy Sports

The Outlook

Last Thursday Washington avenged their 0-2 record against Utah from Hop’s first year and they are hoping to do so again this Thursday when they take on Stanford. The Cardinal swept Washington pretty handily last year and return almost half of their minutes but losing Reid Travis as a grad transfer to Kentucky late in the process was a huge blow. Had Travis stayed he almost certainly would’ve been the frontrunner for Pac-12 player of the year. Now Stanford is fighting to finish above .500 on the season.

Even with Travis leaving this Stanford team is still gigantic. They are 4th in the country in “average height” per KenPom as their average player on the court this season has been 6’7.5”. That advantage comes mostly at the forward positions where Stanford plays a pair of lanky 6’9 players in Oscar Da Silva and Kezie Okpala. With a 6’5 SG and 6’3 PG the Cardinal have no position on the roster with bad length/height and they’re elite in that regard at SF.

With all of that length it isn’t surprising that Stanford’s calling card so far this season has been defense. In particular they are able to prevent 2 things that every team wants: 3-pointers and ball movement. Stanford has given up the fewest 3-pointers per field goal made on defense of any team in the country and the 3rd fewest assists per field goal made.

Their long arms on the perimeter keep teams from getting off good shots when teams just pass it along the 3-pt arc. Those long arms also clog up the passing lanes when teams drive and try to dish it out for an open look. For a UW team that has only shown great shooting/passing skills in bursts this season it will present a major challenge. This appears to be a game in which Jaylen Nowell will need to have a standout game driving and scoring out of isolation in order for UW to consistently put points on the board.

Given the relative strength of the Husky defense and Cardinal offense this could be a low scoring affair. Stanford has struggled scoring in general but they’ve been particularly bad against zone defenses where they rank in just the 8th percentile per Synergy Sports. When Stanford has encountered a zone they’ve attempted almost a 50/50 split between 3-pointers and shots in the paint with only 3% coming from mid-range. You can bet that Hameir Wright/Noah Dickerson/Sam Timmins will absolutely stay home at the rim with their hands stretched high expecting Stanford to barrel towards the rim once they catch it in the high post.

If Stanford has success on offense it’s probably going to be because their length allows them to get a ton of second chances from offensive rebounds and putbacks. Last season the Huskies were outrebounded by 20 in the home loss to Stanford and the margin was +11 for the Cardinal in offensive boards. Washington needs to put a stop to that while encouraging Daejon Davis to have a repeat performance of 7 turnovers in order to keep the possession advantage equal. Because Washington will put up a better points per possession total. If they don’t give up extra opportunities then they’ll win the game.

Prediction

Washington Huskies– 68, Stanford Cardinal– 59

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Keep up with the game in the comments below. You can also follow me for all your UW Men’s Basketball News and Game Updates @UWDP_maxvroom

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