Stanford Preview

The Pac-10 season has arrived and the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-5) will play host to the Stanford Cardinal (7-2) on Thursday night. The Sun Devils have played well so far thus season but they have shown some growing pains and the Pac-10 season will be a true test.

The Cardinal will arrive in Tempe fresh off an impressive 69-67 victory on the road against a tough Fresno State team and the Sun Devils are trying to recover from a 5-point home loss to Davidson in the Devils own Sleep America Classic.

Head Coach

Trent Johnson (3rd Season, 41-29 with Stanford, 120-103 career)

Projected Starters

PG – Mitch Johnson – (5.8 PPG, 5.0 APG)
SG – Anthony Goods – (11.8 PPG, 40% 3PT)
SF – Fred Washington – (7.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG)
PF – Lawrence Hill – (15.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG)
C – Robin Lopez – (9.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG)

Impact Reserves

C – Brook Lopez
PF – Taj Finger
SG – Landry Fields

Overview

The time has arrived for ASU Head Coach Herb Sendek as he prepares to take his young team into Pac-10 play. Stanford has had a mysterious season so far as they have won 7 of their 9 games but the two losses were head-scratchers to say the least. Stanford has done well in beating the likes of Texas Tech and Fresno State away from home but a couple of embarrassing losses at home, first to Air Force (79-45) and then to Santa Clara (62-46), have shown that the Cardinal has yet to figure out what they need to do to be consistent.

Leading the charge for Stanford is Glendale, Ariz. native forward Lawrence Hill. The sophomore is putting up 15.1 PPG while shooting 58% from the field. The second best offensive weapon for the Cardinal is sophomore guard Anthony Goods who is scoring 11.8 per game and shooting 40% from three-point land. Stanford's floor general is sophomore Mitch Johnson, who is one of the top defenders in the Pac-10 and averages 5.0 assists as well.
Robin Lopez is the Cardinal's starting center and the freshman phenom has done a steady job patrolling the paint, scoring and rebounding well. The biggest disappointment so far this season for the Cardinal has been senior forward Fred Washington. Washington was poised to step in and pick up the scoring slack but he has failed to do his part just yet. Washington has to learn to be more of a scorer and not so unselfish. He is shooting 61% from the field but scoring only 7.9 PPG.

Stanford's biggest downfall so far has been a shortage of production off the bench. Outside of Robin's twin, C Brook Lopez (8.3 PPG) and junior F Taj Finger (4.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG), the Cardinal have little else to show for from the reserves. Freshman swingman Landry Fields has shown flashes of promise but has otherwise been inconsistent. Beyond this trio of players, no one else on the bench gets quality minutes.

Guards

Arizona State has a plethora of guards and will rotate them frequently to keep the pace up and have fresh legs on the floor at all times. With junior Antwi Atuahene and freshman Derek Glasser leading the charge at the point and freshmen Jerren Shipp and Christian Polk on the wings, the Devils should have more offensive firepower than the Cardinal. The Cardinal will be using a rotation of three guards for most of the game. Johnson and Goods will get the start and Fields is their first guard off the bench. If they use a big lineup, Washington could be utilized as a big guard. While they lack offense with the guards, Johnson is one of the best in the conference on defense and could do a good job creating turnovers against a sometimes reckless Sun Devil offense.

Slight Edge – ASU

Forwards

The Sun Devils will use seniors Serge Angounou and Allen Morrill to give a balanced rotation with Angounou being more of an offensive force and Morrill being a defensive specialist. Sophomore Sylvester Seay is still looking to find his niche in Sendek's offense and could see some quality minutes if ASU needs instant scoring, as well as size up front. Stanford will start Hill and Washington and they may create problems for ASU as both forwards are very athletic and shoot the ball well. Finger will be productive off the bench as well.

Slight Edge – Stanford

Centers

This will be a tough match up for ASU as sophomore Jeff Pendergraph will have his hands full with the Lopez twins. Pendergraph is more polished on both ends of the floor but if he gets into foul trouble early, the game's outlook may change completely. If Pendergraph stays out of foul trouble, knocks down his mid-range jumpers with regularity and cleans up on the offensive boards over the taller but weaker Lopez boys, the Sun Devils will reap the benefits. However, if Pendergraph is too aggressive, he may have to play with too much caution and Stanford will capitalize.

Edge – Push

Final Score Prediction - ASU 71 - Stanford 67

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