Previewing Stanford

(Pomeroy moved his stats behind a paywall, so there will be no more links to the scouting reports and such. Sorry about that. Statsheet has all the same data, it just isn't as well organized.)
2011 Stats
2012 Roster
2012 Schedule

Stanford Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.0 178
Turnover Rate 20.4 194
Off Reb Rate 33.0 150
FTA/FGA 37.7 169
Stanford Offense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 53.9 33
Turnover Rate 22.2 203
Off Reb Rate 38.6 30
FTA/FGA 40.4 123

Unfortunately, we may be catching Stanford as they turn the corner, just as we did with Indiana. Doesn't mean the outcome will be the same, but it looks like this is the best team Johnny Dawkins has had.

They won 15 games overall and seven games in the Pac-10 last season with a bunch of underclassmen--there were no seniors in the rotation--and that appears to be paying dividends in the early stages of this season. They've had little trouble with their non-conference schedule to this point, and that includes wins over Oklahoma State and, sadly, Colorado State. Their only loss was by six points to Syracuse in Madison Square Garden.

Dawkins is slowly improving this team's offense, but the big difference between this team and last year's is at the defensive end, where they've been shutting down opponents routinely. The next team to average a point per possession against the Cardinal will be the first.

Dawkins' teams have never been much for offensive rebounding, though that may be changing with this squad, and they're shooting better than they have in a long time. We'll see if those things hold up as the schedule gets tougher.

Starters:

Aaron Bright (5-11, 177) -- Bright has been so efficient this season that he leads the Cardinal in scoring despite taking just 17.6% of the team's shots while he's on the floor, which a proportion well below average, much less the average for a leading scorer type. He's 19-36 from beyond the arc, 12-23 inside it, and 14-17 at the line. As a freshman in 2011, he struggled mightily to make twos and hit just 34.4% of his threes, so sample size caveats apply. He's a pretty good distributor, though he has had problems with turnovers throughout his career. He does not go to the line a lot, which points to a guy who lingers outside more than he dribble-drives to create. Given the way he's shooting threes right now, State's defenders need to be aware of that.

Chasson Randle (6-1, 175) -- There are four Stanford players who have attempted 10+ three pointers this year, and only two have made more than a third of their attempts: Bright and Randle. Like Bright, Randle will take threes as often as he attempts twos.

Andrew Zimmermann (6-8, 230) -- A one-dimensional role player, and not a very good one at that. His defensive rebounding percentage should be a source of shame for someone his size, but we have not yet reached a point where anyone's rebounding percentage is a source of shame for anyone. This stupid country. But lord willing I will live to see that day.

"Sorry, coach, I'm soft at the defensive end and this metric proves it. How am I 6-8 and getting just 8% of our defensive boards? I'll work on it right after I finish crying." -- anonymous basketball player of the future. Then old man Steven dies of a joy attack. Look for that around 2042.

This guy does have an epic beard, though. That's what really matters.

Dwight Powell (6-9, 225) -- Hit half of his 162 two-point attempts as a freshman last season and appears to be reprising the secondary role that made him fairly useful a year ago. Rebounds well at the defensive end, though he hasn't been very good offensively. He's pretty good at blocking shots and getting the line.

Josh Owens (6-8, 240) -- Very good scorer in the paint, and the only genuinely high-usage guy among the starters, though I'm guessing Bright will begin to trend in that direction. This is Owens' third year with Stanford and he's never made less than 56% of his twos in a single season, and that's not for a lack of attempts. Solid offensive and defensive rebounder, decent shot blocker, decent at drawing fouls.

Bench:

Anthony Brown (6-6, 210), Josh Huestis (6-7, 225), Jarrett Mann (6-4, 195), Gabriel Harris (6-2, 190), Jack Trotter (6-9, 225). Jarett Mann. Every now and then, I run into a guy who, based on what is on paper, has received a baffling amount of playing time at the major-conference level.

%Min 2FGM-2FGA 3FGM-3FGA
2010 67.4 46-112 (.411) 6-23 (.261)
2011 71.2 44-131 (.336) 1-17 (.059)
2012 41.6 7-19 (.368) 1-3 (.333)


What exactly do you do here, Jarrett? The guy's never been anything close to a primary contributor, which makes these numbers all the more unfortunate. He's a very selective shooter and these are the results. Also, he turns the ball over a lot and is terrible at the free throw line. Any time we can force this kid into some sort of decision, we've done a good job.

(Congrats on scoring 33 points on 8-13 shooting, Jarrett. Signed, future me.)

Brown has been responsible for about a quarter of the team's shots when he's on the floor, with mixed results. He's been passable inside and out, and he is the Cardinal's most frequent three-point shooter outside of Bright and Randle.

Huestis and Harris are the other reserves averaging 10+ minutes per game. Huestis has been one of Stanford's better rebounders at both ends and he's been solid as a complimentary scorer as well.

Stanford Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.1 169
Turnover Rate 21.3 91
Off Reb Rate 30.1 81
FTA/FGA 36.3 138
Stanford Defense 11-12
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 43.0 37
Turnover Rate 25.8 36
Off Reb Rate 26.5 27
FTA/FGA 28.2 42

Probably the most consistent aspect of Stanford's defense under Johnny Dawkins has been their defensive rebounding.

His first two teams were less than stellar at preventing made shots in the paint, though they've been steadily improving that area, culminating in this year's 42.9 2FG% allowed. Why might that be an early-season mirage rather than real evidence of a vastly improved interior defense? For one thing, they rank 247th in block percentage. For another, teams aren't settling for a lot of threes against the Cardinal, which suggests that they aren't overly intimidated by what confronts them in the paint. There's much more to it than that, of course, but those are some of the indicators I look for when I'm judging that part of a team's defense. (When I haven't seen the team play before.)

Kevin Pelton wrote that Stanford is "always in the right place" at the defensive end, and I'm sure that goes a long way toward their effectiveness. I think what the numbers say, in general, is that they've played good interior D without an exceptional amount of athleticism.

Whatever the case, the defense has been the team's staple this season. They've forced a lot of misses and turnovers and they're cleaning up the glass. Could be the biggest challenge State's offense has faced all season.

Pomeroy Predictor likes Stanford by 11.

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