With the regular season in the books, men’s basketball (20-11, 9-9 Pac-12) will tip off its postseason against Cal (13-18, 7-11 Pac-12) on Wednesday in the Pac-12 tournament. The Cardinal enter the weekend in Las Vegas as the conference’s No. 7 seed, while their rival across the Bay is seeded No. 10.
Travel partners Stanford and Cal both ended regular-season conference play on two-game losing streaks following last week’s road action with Oregon State and Oregon. The Cardinal managed to stay within 10 of the former by limiting the Beavers’ shooting success to just 36.36% in the second half but ultimately dropped the contest 65-68.
Two days later, the Golden Bears were less fortunate, being held to just 37% shooting against the Beavers, allowing a combined 43 points from Oregon State standouts Tres Tinkle and Kylor Kelley, to fall 56-74.
No. 13 Oregon on its home court also proved an unconquerable opponent for both Bay teams; the Ducks averaged an impressive 58.25% field goal percentage against the duo to send Stanford back to the Farm defeated 80-67 and Cal home to Berkeley with a 90-56 loss.
Against each other, the teams split the season’s series 1-1, with Stanford securing a 68-52 victory in its Pac-12 opener on Jan. 2. Just over three weeks later, Cal handed the Cardinal their second straight loss on the road in the form of a down-to-the-wire 52-50 decision.
In the second meeting of the teams, first-half shooting struggles plagued Stanford. Only eight of 22 attempts from the field, including just 1 of 8 from behind the arc, fell for the Cardinal before the break. Meanwhile, a Cardinal defense that had been ranked as high as seventh nationally allowed the Golden Bears 27 scoring opportunities; though Cal was only able to convert on nine attempts, it was enough to limit Stanford’s lead at halftime to just 2 points.
Ten fouls by the Cardinal helped keep Cal at the charity stripe, where a 11-for-13 showing — including three free throws from Paris Austin in the final two minutes — solidified the narrow Golden Bears victory.
Stanford could suffer a similar fate on Wednesday should Austin and guard Matt Bradley have the freedom to direct Cal’s offense unchallenged. Austin records an average of 9.1 points per game, second only to Bradley’s 17.5 per contest — a mark that ranks sixth among the conference’s scoring leaders.
Bradley’s 38.6% three-point percentage also paces the Golden Bears from deep and bests the success rate of all but three Stanford players: freshman guard Tyrell Terry (40.7%), junior guard Issac White (40.8%) and freshman forward Spencer Jones (42.9%). In the teams’ last meeting, Bradley netted 2 of 5 from long range, two from within the arc and four from the foul line — where he has shot 86.6% on the season — to record 14 total points.
On the offensive side of the ball, Stanford has relied heavily on junior guard Oscar da Silva to dominate in the paint and Terry to perform from the perimeter. The pair average 16.1 and 14.9 points per game, respectively, and da Silva’s 58.4 field goal percentage comes in at No. 17 in the nation. Following his 18-point contribution against Oregon on Mar. 7, da Silva sits just two shy of the 1,000-career-points milestone.
Terry has posted 27 double-digit performances in 30 games played with a career-high 27 points coming against Utah on Feb. 26. Seven 3-pointers against the Utes also marked a new career-best for the freshman.
A win on Wednesday would send Stanford to a Thursday quarterfinal meeting with No. 2-seed UCLA (19-12, 12-6 Pac-12). First-round action against the Golden Bears is set to tip-off at 6 p.m. PT.
Contact Savanna Stewart savnstew ‘at’ stanford.edu.