Record: (21-12, 10-8 Pac-12)
RPI: 40 (.584)
BPI: 36 (76.5)
How They Qualified: At-large
After jumping out to a 9-3 start, head coach Johnny Dawkins and Stanford were primed for Pac-12 play despite playing four of their first 11 games on the East Coast. A 53-51 comeback win over No. 10 Connecticut in Hartford was their first win over a top 25 team on the road since the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Conference play started off with back to back losses to California and Oregon State before an upset win at No. 17 Oregon propelled the Cardinal to a mini three-game winning streak to push them above .500. They eventually saw their record improve to 9-5 before a late-season collapse dropped them into sixth-place and eventually the six seed for the Pac-12 Tournament.
After taking down 11th-seeded Washington State in the first round, Stanford crushed third seed Arizona State, 79-58, before bowing out to eventual Pac-12 champ UCLA, 84-59. The loss was the worst in the history of the Pac-12 tournament.
Now they’re the 10 seed in the South Region and will face the #7 New Mexico Lobos on Friday, March 21st at 1:40 pm EST. The game can be seen on TBS.
What You Need to Know
Leading Scorer: Chasson Randle – 18.7 ppg
Leading Rebounder: Josh Huestis – 8.3 rpg
Leading Passer: Dwight Powell – 3.2 apg
Bad Losses: at Oregon State
Good Wins: at UConn, at Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State (twice)
What to Expect
If history repeats itself, as Stanford hopes it does, New Mexico will come in with a lot of hype and fall flat, as they did a season ago as the 3 seed in a loss to Harvard. Randle is the second-leading scorer in the Pac-12 (18.7 ppg) but overall, Stanford simply lacks the size needed to match up with the Lobos’ formative front line of Cameron Bairstow and 7-footer Alex Kirk. Normally a 10-over-7 upset isn’t a big deal, but a win over New Mexico certainly would be.
This marks the first trip to the tournament under Dawkins in his six-year tenure and the first trip since 2008, when a loss to the Texas Longhorns in the regional semifinals ended their season.
Congratulations to the Stanford Cardinal. They are going dancing in the NCAA Tournament!