The Cardinal looks to extend its winning streak to four games when they face the University of Colorado Buffaloes (3-1,0-0) Saturday night at Maples Pavilion.
Against Air Force, Anthony Goods led the Cardinal with 20 points, going 6-14 from the floor with 15 of those points coming off three-pointers. If it wasn't clear before, it is now well established that Stanford is going to live and die by the three-point basket. Everyone on the team not named Owens, Trotter, or Bullock seem to have been given the green light to fire away from deep. Look for this three-point barrage to continue against the Buffaloes.
Much like this year's Stanford squad, even die-hard Buffalo fans are likely to get lost following all the new faces on their team. Colorado has a total of 10 underclassmen on its roster, including five freshmen. The Buffaloes are led by standout sophomore guard Cory Higgins, who averages just shy of 18 points per game. In addition to leading the team in scoring, he also shares the team lead for assists and rebounds per game. Stanford will need to contain him, with and without the ball, in order to come out with a victory. The other two players to keep a close eye on are Dwight Thorne II and Austin Dufault. Together, they average close to 25 points and seven rebounds per game.
Unlike most of the teams Stanford will face this season, front-court depth, or the lack thereof, will not be a major issue against the Buffaloes. Colorado is even more guard oriented than Stanford.
Through three games in this young season, certain trends have already been established in Stanford's offense. Goods and Lawrence Hill are clearly the top two options on offense. Josh Owens plays young, but his shear athleticism is proving invaluable. Owens currently averages 12 points and over five rebounds per game. These three, along with Landry Fields, make up the vast majority of the offense. Landry is clearly one of the better shooters on the team, hitting 50% on average from the floor, however he is proving most valuable in his ability to get to the rim.
Quietly, Mitch Johnson has established himself as one of the more reliable point guards in the Pac-10. In addition to scoring eight points per game, he leads the team with six assists per contest. As Coach Dawkins works out all the kinks of the offense, it is possible fans will see Mitch's assists per game rise to double-digits.
Of all the newcomers on this year's squad, Jeremy Green has established himself as THE go-to freshman. He has demonstrated the "unfreshman-like" ability to hit momentum changing shots. Green along with fifth year senior "Downtown" Kenny Brown, provide the Cardinal with its main firepower off the bench.
All in all, fans can expect this game to play out much like the
pre-conference season game it is. Stanford will continue to try to out run the
competition in addition to shooting the ball when given just a minimum amount of
space. A "good" win will have Stanford winning by double-digits and
defined by the Cardinal playing smart, hustle defense in addition to the
aforementioned slashing and three-point shooting.
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