Stanford Preview

The Arizona State Sun Devils (7-20, 1-15) will finish up their regular season in the Bay Area when they take on Stanford and Cal. On Thursday night, the Sun Devils will head to Palo Alto to take on the Stanford Cardinal (17-10, 9-7) and hope to get revenge for a 71-60 loss in the Pac-10 season opener in Tempe.

The Cardinal struggled early in the season with a young team but has grown up considerably as the season has progressed and they find themselves on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

In the first meeting, Jeff Pendergraph scored 17 points to lead ASU and Christian Polk contributed with 11 but Stanford won the game from the free throw line as Anthony Goods scored 11 of his 14 points from the charity stripe and Taj Finger scored 8 of his 14 from the free throw line. The Cardinal made 24 free throws to the Sun Devils 11 and 4 players scored in double figures for Stanford.

The Sun Devils are coming off a devastating 61-58 loss to the Arizona Wildcats in Tempe on Sunday and Stanford returns home after a miserable weekend in Los Angeles getting swept by USC and UCLA.

Head Coach Trent Johnson

Projected Starters

PG – Mitch Johnson – (4.8 PPG, 3.5 APG)
SG – Fred Washington – (8.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG)
SF – Lawrence Hill – (16.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG)
PF – Robin Lopez – (8.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG)
C – Brook Lopez – (12.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG)

Impact Reserves

G – Landry Fields
G – Kenny Brown
F – Taj Finger

Overview

A lot has changed since the December 28, 2006 meeting between these two teams. Stanford has found an identity and has surprised many with their high quality of play and flirted with the top 25 polls earlier this season. The Sun Devils are probably the best 7 win team in the country as they play with a lot of heart and are relentless on defense. The first meeting in Tempe was an ugly game that let free throws decide the outcome. Both teams are more improved in their all-around games and this game should be a smoother game.

The Cardinal will be short-handed as Anthony Goods will miss the game due to injury but with him out of the lineup, Brook Lopez has been given a chance to start and he has been sensational. Leading Stanford is Glendale product Lawrence Hill who pours in 16.1 points a game and Brook Lopez has strived in his new starting role with 12.9 points a game. Brook's twin Robin has been a steady force underneath getting 8.0 points a game and Mitch Johnson has been a solid floor leader distributing the ball and being one of the feistiest defenders in the conference. Stanford's lone senior starter, Fred Washington has been consistent with 8.0 points a game and has picked up his shooting in Goods' absence.

Stanford is a deep team with solid size and athleticism in their reserves. Taj Finger is a great big man who does all the little things well and Landry Fields is a very dangerous slasher who can stretch defenses. Kenny Brown is a decent reliever for Johnson and is very quick.

Guards

Mitch Johnson and Fred Washington are a talented duo but with the loss of Anthony Goods, the Cardinal have relied heavily on their big men and the guards don't get much offensive input. The Sun Devils will counter with their 3 guard set and it has been a work in progress all season long but Derek Glasser, Christian Polk, and Jerren Shipp have been fantastic as of late and will look to expand the Cardinal defense and give the offense more open looks.

Solid Edge – Arizona State

Forwards Lawrence Hill and Robin Lopez are poised to give Serge Angounou and Allen Morill all they can handle on Thursday night. Hill is a dominant scoring threat on the low post and with his mid-range game and Lopez is a great player in the paint because he can score and rebound well. Angounou is coming off a great game against Arizona and may get the starting nod against Stanford. If Morill gets the start, he will have his hands full on both ends but his physical play may give Stanford trouble.

Solid Edge – Stanford

Centers

Jeff Pendergraph has elevated his game to an elite status as the season has progressed and is one of the best big men in the Pac-10. Brook Lopez has had a phenomenal freshman campaign and the matchup between Pendergraph and Lopez will be a good one to watch. If Pendergraph stays out of foul trouble and can find his touch on the mid-range jumpers then Arizona State will upset the Cardinal.

Slight Edge – Arizona State

Final Score – Arizona State 63 Stanford 60

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