Stanford showed up in Dallas in name, but quickly adopted the part of the Washington Generals in getting blown right out of Moody Coliseum pretty much from the jump. SMU used a 14-0 run over the first 3:51 of the game and then fought off second half boredom to crush Stanford 72-49. Stanford has clearly established that in its current state it has no business on the court with Tournament-caliber teams.
After a great victory over Seton Hall, Stanford has been blown out by three very good teams in St. Mary’s, Kansas, and SMU. The familiar culprits were all in play against the Mustangs. Stanford shot 3-15 from the three-point line as an aggressive, athletic, and disciplined SMU team packed the paint and trusted their recovery skills in totally deleting Stanford’s halfcourt offense.
On the other end of the floor, two major problems short-circuited Stanford’s defense. First, the Cardinal repeatedly helped off ballside shooters, leading to wide open threes and points that came in bushels. Secondly, the Cardinal has been playing screen roll with a soft hedge form its big men, meaning they show just enough to slow down the man with the ball, but SMU’s spacing left them vulnerable to hard crashes right down the lane by the screening big man, and the Mustangs spent the first half converting wide open dunks and layups.
SMU was well-spaced, and they were also a matchup problem for Stanford. The Mustangs went 6’6”, 6’6”, 6’6”, 6’7”, and 6’8” in their starting lineup, and that aggressive, athletic and versatile lineup was too much for Stanford to deal with. The Cardinal someday hopes to field a “positionless” lineup like that, but that day is not now, unfortunately.
Michael Humphrey’s struggles continue. The junior was 1-6 for four points and four rebounds in only 11 minutes of action. He is really lacking aggression and physicality of late, and just seems overwhelmed, perhaps overthinking a new offense but just not playing anywhere near to his potential.
Reid Travis spent most of his night surrounded by seemingly the entirety of the SMU team, but did manage 10 points and 8 rebounds. In an encouraging note, Marcus Sheffield led Stanford in scoring with a modest 13 points, but it’s a start for a player who Stanford desperately needs to contribute.
Stanford has one more game this Thursday against Idaho at Maples before getting ready for Pac-12 play with Arizona schools. This stretch will offer some solid practice time for the Cardinal to try and find a group upon which it can build the rest of its season.