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Stanford knows it must reach NCAA tournament for season to be success in Dawkins' sixth year

Dwight Powell is playing for his future. Johnny Dawkins is coaching for his.

While Powell put off turning pro to stick around Stanford for his senior season on a veteran team, Dawkins realizes the pressure to win now with his job depending on it.

Athletic director Bernard Muir has made it clear he expects the Cardinal to reach the NCAA tournament, something that hasn't happened during Dawkins' first five years on the job.

It's a make-or-break year for Dawkins, who scheduled a tough preseason that features consecutive games next month at Connecticut then home against Michigan three days later.

And Stanford certainly believes it will be playing in the top-tier tournament come March, with its top four scorers returning and all but two players from last season's team that reached the second round of the NIT.