Ron Chenoy/ USA Today

Stanford Basketball Loses 91-75 to Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado buried the Cardinal under an avalanche of three pointers, starting Stanford's Rocky Mountain trip on a brutal note.























At some point George King and Josh Fortune got bored just making conventional three pointers and started shooting with blindfolds, flipping them in behind their backs while riding a unicycle, or juggling chainsaws before making those from three point range, I was moved to wonder if they literally would catch fire as if they were characters on NBA Jam.

Such was the absurdity of Stanford’s 91-75 dismantling at the hands of the Colorado Buffaloes in a game that was nowhere near as close as the not close score indicates.  King and Fortune shot a ridiculous 10-12 from behind the three point line, the Buffs shot 68% from three as a team, and the shots that didn’t go in were often simply retrieved by Colorado until they put one up that found the bottom of the net.

Stanford, the league’s worst offensive team, continued offending the eyes and sensibilities of basketball fans by struggling in literally every way an offense can struggle.  Stanford shot 30% from the three point line, a number that increased dramatically as the game went on thanks to Colorado’s decision to stop playing defense after halftime.  Stanford tallied 47 second-half points, a number that’d be more eye-popping if they didn’t allow 49 over the same interval.

Rosco Allen and Michael Humphrey started the game 1-10 from the field, with a number of Humphrey’s misses coming from close proximity to the rim. Rosco was the main beneficiary of Colorado’s second half laissez faire policies, piling up 20 points in the second half after going 1-7 in the first when the outcome had all but been decided.   Humphrey, for those convinced he’s better off without Reid Travis, spent the evening being tossed around by Josh Scott like a human Red Vine, and the Buffs as a team just crushed Stanford on the glass, as their 40% offensive rebounding percentage illustrates.

If there was a point of optimistic frustration, it was that Stanford did a great job of turning Colorado over and taking care of the ball themselves.  Unfortunately, the Cardinal was not able to translate many of its 11 steals into points.  Yes, Stanford finished with a +9 in points off turnovers, but that doesn’t tell you how the first five Cardinal steals netted zero points, again, when the game’s outcome was not yet a certainty.

If there is one thing Stanford needs to work on (and trust me, there are many things on which Stanford needs to work), it’s having a plan for attacking the paint.  Cardinal players routinely probe the lane, but then either find themselves caught with extinguished dribbles and trapped, or forced to put up shots that are awkward and either blocked or have no chance of going in, or they end up flinging the ball back out in desperation. 

There’s no conviction and recognition to the Cardinal’s driving game, and it’s a team-wide affliction.  Below the rim finishers need to recognize that driving right to the rim is not a good thing.  Unless you can get up and force fouls and play through contact, there’s no point in going right to the rim.  Better to pull up or develop a touch from four to six feet on floaters or runners.  Proficiency at those shots will draw big men from the hoop, setting up better passing and driving lanes.

There’s no need to devote a ton of words and numbers to analyzing this game.  Colorado whipped Stanford.  This was always going to be a tough game, and the fact that the Buffaloes were on fire from three is what made it such a rout, but Stanford at no point was in danger of winning this game.  So the Cardinal moves on to Salt Lake, where things are not likely to get any easier in front of a very hostile Huntsman Center Crowd. 

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