Scott Olmos/USA Today

Stanford Basketball Loses to Oregon Ducks, Humphrey and Company Devoured on the Boards

The Ducks devoured the Cardinal on the boards and left Stanford's offense in desperate need of acceleration.

                Stanford made two trips to Oregon this past week.  They packed their rebounding on the first trip, and it helped secure a big road victory in Corvallis.  Unfortunately, they were not nearly as successful on Sunday night, as the Oregon Ducks, outhustled, outmuscled, and straight up embarrassed the Cardinal on the boards en route to a 71-58 victory.




















                There is no hiding the quantification of this debacle.  That 52% offensive rebounding rate is staggering.  Oregon’s offensive rebounding rate on the season is 34%.  That’s both in conference play and in the non-conference.  West Virginia, the best offensive rebounding team in the country, has an offensive rebounding percentage of 44%. This was a no-show from Stanford, and it undermined a number of successes Stanford had on the defensive end.

                Oregon came into the game as one of the top three-point shooting teams in the league.  On this night, the Ducks shot only 25% from beyond the arc.  Stanford also turned the Ducks over, but could not turn those forced miscues into points.  Finally, Stanford all but eliminated the Ducks' home court advantage at the foul line, attempting only four fewer foul shots and ultimately ending up -1 on the night.

                The other end of the floor was major train wreck for the Cardinal as well.  Stanford looked awkward and out of sync in the halfcourt, which is not an uncommon state for the Cardinal as they implement both new lineups and a new offense.   Stanford assisted on 12 of its 19 FG’s, which is a robust 62%. The problem is that they made only 19 buckets the entire game. 

Time and again, Stanford players dribbled into the paint only to be caught with no real plan for what to do once they got there.  Oregon, a good shot-blocking team, swatted seven Stanford shots, with Chris Boucher basically auditioning for the AVP tour with five of his own.  That doesn’t count the amount of awkward attempts that eluded Oregon hands but also the bottom of the net as well. .The Cardinal actually shot acceptably from 3, hitting 33% on 5 of 15.  But their two-point shooting was an abysmal 40% and that wasn’t gonna cut it on a night when they weren’t dominating the free throw game as they usually do. Rosco Allen, Marcus Allen, and Dorian Pickens all struggled, going 8-25 from the field.  Michael Humphrey had a nice shooting game (7-13) but also had a team-high four turnovers and only five rebounds, which really hurt in the absence of Reid Travis.

If there’s one big takeaway from this game, it’s that Stanford offensively really needs to commit to pushing the ball.  Everybody seems resigned to the idea that Stanford’s 10th rated Pac-12 pace and its 288th rated national pace of 18.3 seconds per possession is appropriate.  I don’t think it is at all.  So far, it’s produced the 10th-rated offense in the Pac-12, and correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causality, but when you look at the make-up and skill set of this roster it just seems like they’d be better suited to push the ball.

Michael Humphrey and Coach Dawkins both seemed to concur after the Colorado loss, so we’ll see how things evolve over the next couple weeks.  With no Reid Travis to anchor a post spot, it just seems like the struggle is all too real for Stanford in the halfcourt to be repeatedly walking the ball up the court.  The team just doesn’t have the timing down on its cuts and screens to generate opportunities, and while Rosco and Marcus Allen are both willing and effective drivers, neither have reached the stage of finishing consistently enough to stress defenses.

Again, some of these struggles are unavoidable.  No matter how much you push the ball, you still need to execute in the halfcourt, and Stanford is going to have to improve there to be successful this year.  That being said, this team’s not gonna reach its full potential until it puts the pedal to the metal.  That and the need to box out were hammered home by an Oregon team that did both on Sunday night at Stanford’s expense. 

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