Oregon Preview

The Washington schools aside, this is a Stanford team still waiting to make a weekend sweep in conference. Splits against Cal, the Oregons, the Arizonas and the LA schools leave a lukewarm feeling in our collective gut. Thus the chance to take on conference leader Oregon at home is a relished opportunity. Simon Sez the advantages might tip the Cardinal's way, especially away from Eugene.

In what looks to be the biggest matchup of the season, Oregon comes south from Eugene looking to effectively eliminate Stanford from a regular season title. Oregon comes in with a 2 ½ game lead in the conference, and with the way they play at home, it looks like they could take the conference. They are up to number 13 in the country and look like a team that could make a run deep into March. This is a huge matchup for Stanford as they are trying to fill out a resume for the selection committee, hoping for higher than a six or seven seed. Last weekend's game (ASU) seemed like a big step in the right direction and then they were stunned by the Cats. We'll see how the team responds to the heartbreaking loss Thursday when these players take the court:

PG - Tony Giovacchini 6-2 180 lbs 3.4 PPG vs. Luke Ridnour 6-2 165 lbs 14.7 PPG

This is looking to be a very weak position for the Cardinal. Tony has had major struggles so say the least, as he starts but never really plays meaningful minutes in the 2nd half. Barnes has been sliding over to the point often now but his play has been very hot and cold. He sometimes looks like he is a pro point but often times gets lost and can't find his teammates. He seems to be an upgrade over Tony even when he is colder, but he isn't a steady point guard by any stretch. His niche seems to be the two and a point guard search should continue. Chris Hernandez has been playing some but didn't get off the bench for a minute in an overtime game against Arizona. Was he hurt? I didn't hear anything, but it was odd not to see him get five to ten minutes. Ridnour has had a great sophomore season. He was a McDonald's All-American and is starting to show why with his great ballhandling and his ability to shoot the three. He is very similar to Brett Nelson of Florida in his style of play but isn't quite there yet. He is often too flashy at times but has been very good this season and keeps improving. Advantage: Luke Ridnour

SG - Julius Barnes 6-1 180 lbs 9.6 PPG vs. Frederick Jones 6-4 210 lbs 16.7 PPG

This is sure to be a very exciting and athletic matchup. Everyone here knows of Barnes' athleticism but if there is anyone in the conference who can match it, it is Freddy Jones. Jones flies up the court and often puts in a jaw-dropping dunk or two per game. Didn't have a great jump shot until this season ,as it has really come around. Jones always seems to turn it up a little more when he plays Stanford, including a great game against the Card last year. Barnes has been much better at home but is still trying to show some consistency. Jones lit up Barnes pretty good in Eugene ,so he will probably have some extra motivation. Look for this matchup to be very even and very exciting. Advantage: Push

SF - Casey Jacobsen 6-6 210 lbs 21.5 PPG vs. Luke Jackson 6-7 215 lbs 15.2 PPG

Is there anything more to say about Casey? He is finally looking like a first team All-American and is showing he can do it all. He scored 73 points last weekend in every possible way. He drove to the hoop, he hit the mid-range jumper and of course he hit the three's. He looks almost unguardable at times now and will be very difficult for Jackson to stop by himself. The same can be said for Jackson, though, as he was the MVP in the teams' previous meeting, by tearing up the Cardinal defense. Jackson has to be contained because with all the weapons on this Oregon team, it is a killer when he goes for a big game. Jacobsen is in a zone now and it looks like he can't be stopped. Should go off for a big game, as he scored 32 points in the teams first meeting. Advantage: Casey Jacobsen

PF - Teyo Johnson 6-7 240 4.4 PPG lbs vs. Robert Johnson 6-8 235 lbs 8.2 PPG

This was a move that looks like it has really helped. Davis hasn't done much of anything for awhile and has hurt the team at the line. Johnson has provided a little bit of a scoring punch and a lot of energy. With the energy, though, comes fouls, and Johnson has had trouble staying on the floor. He also is very strong but often lacks the height and reach to play with a lot of the conference's power forwards. Johnson has been a solid freshman for Oregon and is a Bay Area native. Look for this matchup to not play much of a factor and be a draw. Advantage: Push

C - Curtis Borchardt 7-1 240 lbs 16.1 10.7 RPG vs. Chris Christoffersen 7-2 300 lbs

This is probably the only player in the conference that Borchardt can't just shoot over. Chris is a massive human being and often just takes up space in the lane. He has greatly improved but he is no match for Borchardt. Curtis went off for 29 in the first meeting and should do more of the same against Oregon the second time. Borchardt against Arizona had trouble finishing close to the hoop at times but a 25-point 21-rebound performance is tough to argue with. Advantage: Curtis Borchardt

Overall, this is a huge matchup that people should get excited about. Stanford absolutely needs this game or they could be looking at a potential second round game against Duke or Kansas. Not a good idea for a team that wants to make it deep into March. Oregon has struggled on the road this season with some really ugly losses. No one doubts their dominance at home but I think they could have a tough time in this Bay Area roadtrip. Advantage: Stanford 85 Oregon 80

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