After being off for two weeks due to finals, Stanford looks to rebound from their first loss of the season against Texas. In that game many things went very wrong. They got outhustled and outplayed in nearly every fascet of the game. The Longhorns main players got to the rim and at will and really took Stanford out of their game. This shouldn't be the case against the 49ers from Long Beach State but with this season one never knows. Here is what to expect when the two teams take the field.
PG - Ron Johnson, 6-0, 190, Senior, San Diego, Ca (13.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg) vs Tony Giovacchini 6-2, 180, Senior, Salt Lake City, Ut (6.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
Tony's offensive game has dramatically improved from last season but his defense is still not up to par. TJ Ford almost put up a triple double on him and Barnes, including 13 assists to only 3 turnovers. Tony will be up against the leading scorer on Long Beach State and should give him another challenge. It doesn't look like Tony is going to be giving up his starting job anytime soon with his improved offensive play and the lack of consistent play by Barnes and Hernandez behind him. Hopefully Tony puts together a good game and gets everyone involved to get this team going again.
SG - Michael Darrett, 6-2, 190, Senior, Evansville, In (7.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg) vs Casey Jacobsen, 6-6, 210, Junior, Glendora, Ca (18.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Casey looks for a big time rebound game after perhaps his worst one in his career at Stanford. He shot 3-17 from the field and was forcing a lot of shots just to try to get his stroke working again. He also hasn't hit a three-pointer in his last two games which is definitely something he is not used to. Casey seems to be trying to drive more to the basket, which is good, but it has taken him out of his three-point stroke which is what makes him a superstar. Albeit the defenses Stanford is facing is hounding Casey to no end, it would be nice for him to shoot over all those shorter defenders and get his stroke back. I fully expect him to tonight and put a huge game after having to think about the Texas one for nearly two weeks now.
SF - Tony Darden, 6-4, 200, Junior, Snow Hill, NC (10.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg) vs Josh Childress, 6-8, 190, Freshman, Lakewood, Ca (15.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Josh continues to improve and is really looking like a second go-to guy to Casey. Josh led Stanford to overtime in a game in which they really should have lost by a lot. He hit many key shots towards the end and continues to play excellent defense. By the end of the season I really think he is going to be a big name in college basketball. He has boosted his scoring output to 15.3 PPG which is amazing for a freshmen. Josh should continue to play well as it looks like he will not only be a great player, but he will also be great players who rarely has an off game. He continues to slash to the basket and his jump shot is definitely improving from when we saw him in the McDonald's All-American game. Look for Josh to have another solid performance Saturday night.
PF - Travis Reed, 6-8, 250, Senior, Fontana, Ca (11.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg) vs 6-8 Justin Davis, 230, Sophomore, Berkeley, Ca (5.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
This has been a position of weakness for Stanford which is why I think Rob Little will be starting Saturday night. Little has given Stanford much more of a spark offensively and has been grabbing a lot of rebounds. Davis hasn't really found his game this season as he is having trouble with his back to the basket and passing out of the post. I think that Teyo will eventually start at this position as the season goes on but Little will get his chance to prove what he can do with more minutes. Travis Reed is a good player for Long Beach and had a good game against Stanford last year. Look for Little to put up decent numbers and give the starters a lift.
C - James Williams, 6-9, 240, Senior, St. Louis, Mo (13.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) vs Curtis Borchardt 7-0, 240, Junior, Redmond, Wa (13.3 ppg, 13.3 rpg)
Curtis looks to continue his remarkable season, which sees him as the leading rebounder in all of college basketball. It shows how much he means to this team as he was in constant foul trouble against Texas, and Texas drove to the basket at will. He snapped his double-double streak by only scoring eight points but was able to grab eleven rebounds in very limited minutes. He will have a big height advantage again and should pu up another double-double and dominate in the post. Look for him to take advantage of another good matchup for him and have a good game.
This game looks very good for the Cardinal to get back on their winning ways. Long Beach State is a decent team but should not challenge big conference teams yet. Look for this game to perhaps by close for a little bit, but in the end it should be a 20+ point victory for Stanford.