The Stanford men’s basketball team, in all likelihood, can finally punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament. With an emphatic 79-58 blowout victory over Arizona State (21-11, 10-8 Pac-12) in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday night, the Cardinal (21-11, 10-8) appear to be secure in their bid for their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008. It was the Cardinal’s second victory over the Sun Devils in three tries this season, and the victory now sets up a showdown with UCLA in the semifinals of the conference tournament on Friday.
Stanford men’s basketball
Head coach Johnny Dawkins and the Stanford men’s basketball team lived to see another day on Wednesday night, as the Card defeated the Washington State Cougars 74-63 in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. With the win, the Cardinal (20-11, 10-8 Pac-12) advanced to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, where they will face the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday night. The win not only moved Stanford closer to a Pac-12 tournament title, but also was crucial in ensuring that the Cardinal avoided the type of disastrous loss that would swing the NCAA Tournament committee in favor of keeping Stanford out of the Big Dance.
With the win on Saturday against Utah, the Stanford men’s basketball team avoided ending the regular season on a sour note and, in the process, prevented further doubt from creeping into its NCAA tournament profile. The Cardinal (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12) escaped the Utes (20-10, 9-9) with a 61-60 victory on a late free throw by senior Dwight Powell, thus ensuring that the Cardinal would register their second winning conference season of the Johnny Dawkins era, and as a result, finish in a five-way tie for third place in the Pac-12.
It didn’t play its best game, but the Stanford men’s basketball team did just enough on Senior Day to escape the Utah Utes on Saturday, and in the process, put its quest to the NCAA Tournament back on track. A Dwight Powell free throw with 36 seconds left gave Stanford (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12) a 61-60 lead, and a strong defensive possession that saw Chasson Randle force a turnover with less than two seconds remaining sealed the Cardinal victory. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and clinched Stanford’s second winning conference season in the last three years.
With the Cardinal currently projected to be somewhere between an 8 seed and a 10 seed in the NCAA tournament, it is crucial that Stanford does not give the tournament committee a reason to bump it out of the field of 68. Holding serve this week at home in the final games of the regular season against Colorado (20-9, 9-7) and Utah (19-9, 8-8) would pretty much guarantee the Cardinal a spot in the Big Dance.
After a strong stretch of performances that saw the Cardinal win five of its previous six games, including an upset victory over No. 23 UCLA on Saturday, the Stanford men’s basketball team (18-9, 9-6 Pac-12) put forth a forgettable performance in a dreadful road defeat to the Arizona State Sun Devils (20-8, 9-6) on Wednesday night, falling 76-64.
The Stanford men’s basketball team will attempt to accomplish something tonight it has never done under head coach Johnny Dawkins: defeat the Washington Huskies in Seattle. Even including a 79-67 home victory against the Huskies on Jan. 18, Stanford (15-7, 6-4 Pac-12) owns just a 2-9 record against Washington (13-11, 5-6) with Dawkins as head coach. The losing streak in Seattle spans four games, with the Cardinal’s last win coming back on Jan. 31, 2008, when Brook Lopez’s monster 31-point, 13-rebound performance powered Stanford to a 65-51 victory.