When #2-ranked Stanford (20-0, 11-0 Pac-10) faces Cal (11-9, 7-4) at Haas Pavilion this Saturday, the Bears will be looking not only to deal the Cardinal its first defeat of the season, but also to strengthen its credentials for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. While it's taken some time Cal to become a cohesive unit, the Bears have won five of its last six games and will enter this weekend tied for 2nd in conference play. All five starters have established themselves as double-figure scoring threats and a team which was struggling with its offense earlier in the season has scored more than 85 points in its past three games.
Looking ahead at the Cal-Stanford game, it would be easy to compare year-to-date statistics - but for this game, most year-to-date statistics are irrelevant. Both teams played very different nonconference schedules - and on Saturday, Cal will playing at home and Stanford will be playing away - thus the key statistics will are Cal's home conference statistics and Stanford's away statistics. Cal's 5-1 at Haas Pavilion in conference play, with three close wins (USC, Arizona State and Arizona) and a loss to Washington State. Stanford's Pac-10 road record is 4-0, with two close wins (Arizona State and Oregon).
Here are some key factors to look for on Saturday:
1. Chris Hernandez and Josh Childress don't shoot nearly as well on the road.
In conference home games, Hernadez and Childress shot 52.1% from the field (50/96) compared with just 39.4% (28/71) on the road. The difference is much more significant for three-point shooting. Hernandez is an astounding 71.4% from 3-point territory in conference home games, compared to 31.3% on the road. Childress, shoots only 40% from 3-point territory at Maples compared to 33.3% away from The Farm. Lottich actually shoots a little bit better on road games, but still only shoots 39.1% on all field goal attempts. In last year's game at Haas, Lottich went 0-for-5 including 0-of-3 from 3-point territory.
|3-pt. FGs||All FGs|
2. Amit Tamir loves Haas Pavilion -- look to see who guards him
The difference between home and away performances is more significant for Amit Tamir than it is for any other Golden Bear. For home conference games, Tamir averages 14.8 points, shoots 53.7% from the field, and 51.3% from 3-point territory, compared with 10.0 points, 36.0% from the field and 38.5% from 3-point land. As good of a free-throw shooter as Tamir is (84.6% in conference play), he's only attempted 13 free throws compared to 117 field goal attempts. By comparison, Leon Powe has 77 free throw attempts compared to 101 field goal attempts. Both Rob Little and Matt Haryasz are foul prone - Little averages one foul every 7.8 minutes in conference road games, while Haryasz averages one foul every 6.3 minutes in conference road games - if Powe and Tamir are able to get Little and Haryasz in foul trouble, Stanford could be in trouble.
|Amit Tamir||FG||FGA||FG%||3pt. FG||3pt. FGA||3pt FG%||Pts.|
Minutes per foul/Fouls per 40 minutes
3. How long will Cal be able to keep its starting lineup intact?
The Bears' starting lineup of Midgley, Ubaka, Kately, Powe, and Tamir has emerged as by far the Bears' strongest lineup. While head coach Ben Braun seems to have phased out using the all-reserve lineup in favor of keeping one or two starters in at all time - the lineup will need to be oncourt at least 12 to 15 minutes. The one obstacle that would prevent the Bears from finishing the half with all five starters is foul trouble. Midgley has had three or more fouls in seven of the past eight games - if he were to get in foul trouble he'd be replaced by a combination of A.J. Diggs and Martin Smith - capable defenders but neither presents the offensive threat that Midgley does. During the past three games, the starting lineup has been +33 in 38:29, while all other lineup combinations have been -13 in 81:31.
All Other Lineups
|at Arizona||Powe missed game due to injury|
|at Arizona St.||25||12||+13||9:27||49||50||-1||30:33||+14|
|at Oregon||Data unavailable|
|at Oregon St.||32||21||+11||11:27||56||53||+3||28:33||+8|
4. Can Richard Midgley continue his torrid play?
In conference home games, Midgley's point totals have been: 4, 6, 7, 6, 18 and 20. In the past three games, Midgley, reigning Pac-10 player of the week, has averaged 18.3 points and has been more aggressive in taking the ball to basket. Early in the season, he would fall into spells where most of his offensive presence came from his 3-point shooting and he rarely attempted to drive. A 19-point effort against Stanford sparked him and he'll enter Saturday's game knowing that he can get past the Cardinal's guards. Midgley, Ubaka, and Lottich score roughly the same percentage of points via 2-point field goals and 3-point field goals. Hernandez scores a ridiculously large percentage of his points (38.3%) via free throws - but scores only 16.9% of his points via two-point field goals.
|2 pt. FGs||3 pt FGs||FTs||Total||% 2 pt.||% 3 pts.||% FT|
|First 11 games||26||36||20||82||31.7%||43.9%||24.4%|
|at Arizona St.||4||0||4||8||50%||0||50.0%|
|at Oregon St.||12||3||2||17||70.6%||17.6%||11.8%|
|% of points on 2-point FGs||% of points on 3-point FGs|
5. Free throws, free throws, free throws
Stanford is a good free throw shooting team (74.1%), Cal isn't (62.6%). Over the course of 20 free throws, this would represent a 2.3 point difference. Strategically, this means a couple of things - Stanford is able to salt away victories in the closing moments because they'll keep the ball in the hands of the best free throw shooters and they don't miss often; against Cal, opposing teams know that they'll have the chance to draw closer by sending the Bears to the free throw line. Also, if Stanford finds itself trailing late in the game, they'll attempt to lengthen the game by drawing fouls on the offensive end and scoring points on the offensive end -- many times by having a guard dribble at a defender and putting the ref in a position where he'll have to make a call. The net effect is turning the game into a free throw shooting contest at both ends of the court. It's brutal to watch, but, in Stanford's case one can't argue with the results. Cal's challenge is that for much of the season, two of its best free throw shooters (Midgley and Tamir) were reluctant to take the ball inside and put themselves in situations where they might draw fouls.
California (home conference games)
Stanford (away conference games)
|vs. Washington||12||24||50.0||at Arizona St.||12||19||63.2|
|vs. Washington St.||5||9||55.6||at Arizona||20||27||74.1|
|vs. USC||8||14||57.1||at Oregon St.||12||13||92.3|
|vs. UCLA||22||38||57.9||at Oregon||24||28||85.7|
|vs. Arizona St.||21||30||70.0|
The following chart lists the free throw percentages for Cal and Stanford players who average at least 15 minutes of playing time a game. The bold column shows each player's free throw percentage, the P10 Home (or away) column shows the free-throw percentages of each player in conference home/away games, and the Last 6 column shows each player's free-throw percentage for the past six games. Note that Midgley and Tamir's percentages have increased significantly over the past few games.
California (players >15 minutes a game)
Stanford (players >15 minutes a game)
|FT||FTA||FT%||P10 Home||Last 6||FT||FTA||FT%||P10 Away||Last 6|
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