Stanford (21-10) vs California (23-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 8, 9:10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Staples Center (7,500) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: FSN. Home Record: Stanford 14-3, California 17-1. Away Record: Stanford 5-6, California 5-6. Neutral Record: Stanford 2-1, California 1-1. Conference Record: Stanford 10-8, California 13-5. Series Record: California leads 144-115.
GAMES NOTES: After already ruining their regular season title chances, the seventh-seeded Stanford Cardinal will try to spoil the second-seeded California Bears' attempt at a Pac-12 Tournament title when the two storied rivals match up in the quarterfinal round at the Staples Center with the winner taking on the victor of the quarterfinal matchup between sixth-seeded Colorado and third-seeded Oregon.
Stanford defended its homecourt and dropped California 75-70 in the regular-season finale, which put the Golden Bears a game behind Washington in the standings. With a split of the season series with Stanford, California now holds the a 144-115 record all-time against the Cardinal.
The opening round didn't present much of a challenge to Stanford as the Cardinal routed Arizona State 85-65 to give the team consecutive wins, including the regular season finale, for the first time since mid-February. Stanford had a respectable year and enters this game with a 21-10 overall record.
Like the other top four seeds, California was able to rest on the opening day of the Pac-12 Tournament and may be glad to do so after running out of gas in the last two games of the regular season, both losses. California's resume, although strong at 23-8 overall and 13-5 in league play, puts it on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament bid.
It's tough to dominate as thoroughly as Stanford did in the opening round victory as the Cardinal scored 50 points in the first half. For the game the Cardinal shot a solid 47.3 percent from the floor and put in 10-of-19 attempts from three-point range, with Chasson Randle leading the charge with 30 points.
The effort for Randle was a career-high for the talented freshman that has led the team all season long in scoring (13.6 ppg) and three-point field goal percentage (.444). He kept that going on Wednesday, as he dropped in 6-of-8 from long range. After Randle, the Cardinal turn to Josh Owens (11.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Aaron Bright (11.0 ppg, 3.6 apg), who are the only other players on the roster to average in double figures this season. Bright managed 11 points but with Randle's performance the rest of the team spread the ball with 11 players scoring in the game. The 85 points was a huge jump for a Stanford squad that averaged 70.5 points per game in the regular season. The Cardinal did turn in a strong efforts in rebounding (37.1 pg) while turning up the defensive pressure to the tune of 62.5 points allowed per game.
The meeting with Stanford in the regular season finale was a close on but still ended in defeat for California. The Golden Bears managed to shoot only 40.7 percent for the game and failed to get in rhythm from three point range where they were just 4-for-15 in the losing effort. The poor shooting from beyond the arc was critical as Stanford doubled California's production from three point range (24-12).
California leans heavily on the play of its backcourt, especially the trio of Allen Crabbe, Justin Cobbs and Jorge Gutierrez. Of the three, Crabbe (15.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is the best scorer and also brings versatility by crashing the boards effectively. Crabbe will be glad to see Stanford as he is coming off a 20-point performance against the Cardinal the last time these squads met. Gutierrez (12.9 ppg, 4.0 apg) is next in the scoring column. Cobbs (12.8 ppg 5.1 apg) is by no means an unproductive scorer, but has meant more in distributing the ball for his teammates, as he ranked second in the conference in assists this year. On the front line, Harper Kamp (11.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and David Kravish (7.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are the main contributors. California has an impressive +10.7 scoring differential, netting 71.9 ppg and allowing just 61.2.
California knows to be wary of Stanford after already losing to the Cardinal once this week. In this matchup the Golden Bears will be ready after having an extra day of rest. With its strong backcourt and the added benefit of playing on a neutral court rather than a hostile road environment, look for the Golden Bears to advance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 68, Stanford 61
03/08 15:14:51 ET