Friday, December 28, 2007

'Dogs face uphill battle at Maples v. Stanford

Its all on you KB, we need 20 and 7 outta you

Dogs head to Palo Alto to face No. 22 Stanford:

The Bulldogs will head up to the Bay area to play the Stanford Cardinal at Maples Pavilion at 2pm Saturday. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net with Ted Robinson as the play by play and former Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery with analysis. Both the Cardinal and Bulldogs have been off since Saturday, December 22nd, with each team coming away with key non-conference wins.

This will be the ninth meeting in the two schools history, their last meeting was an action packed, heartbraeaking game in Fresno which the Bulldogs dropped 69-67, this will be the Dogs first trip to play the Cardinal in Palo Alto since 1954.

The Cardinal Coming in:

Stanford enters off of last Saturdays victory over Texas Tech 62-61, their sixth straight win. After the Red-Raiders used a 21-6 run to close the 1st half to lead 33-26, Sophmore Center Brooke Lopez, in only his 2nd game of the season, led the way in the 2nd half scoring 17 of his team-high 19 points. Joining Lopez in double figure scoring was guard Anthony Goods with 10 and fellow post player and brother Robin with 10.

The Cardinal come into the contest with a 10-1 record, their best start since 2003-04, and they also enter with a 7-0 home record. Key wins for Stanford are over UCSB, Colorado, Santa Clara, Northwestern, and Texas Tech. The lone loss was an early season road game at Siena, a 69-57 defeat.

The Cardinal feature 4 players in double figure scoring, led by newly reinstated Brook Lopez (19.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 1.5 blks), guard Anthony Goods (12.5 ppg, 3 apg, 41.3% 3pt), Robin Lopez (10.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 30 blks), and Lawrence Hill (10.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

Key Cardinal team stats:

-76.8 points per game (56.8 opp)
-49.5 Field goal % (38.8% opp)
-40.2 3pt % (33% opp)
-239 Free Throw attempts (181 opp)
-+ 12.5 rebounding margin
-16.3 assist per game to 13.5 turnovers
-4.8 steals per game (6.5 opp)
-4.7 blocks per game
-Outscored opponents by 137 in the 1st half

The Bulldogs coming in:

Fresno State enters the matchup with Stanford off of what was their most complete performance of the season at home against the University of Pacific, a 75-58 victory. Besides the opening 4 minute stretch of the 2nd half, the Bulldogs outplayed the Tigers and showed that there is potential for this team to win big games. The Bulldogs were led by Senior all-everything point guard Kevin Bell who finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.

Also contributing with solid games were Hector Hernandez with 10 points and 4 rebounds, and guard Eddie Miller who finished with 15 points on 5-9 three point shooting. Miller leads the WAC in made 3 point field goals with 4 per game. Tyson Parker also played a key role off the bench with 4 points and 4 assists.

As a team the Bulldogs shot a blistering 51.1% from the field, 39% from three, and 78% from the charity stripe. There were only 9 turnovers for the Bulldogs while they were able to force 7 steals and hand out 15 assists as a team.

On the season Kevin Bell leads the way averaging 17.5 points per contest while Eddie Miller comes in at 13.5 points per. The most troublesome season stat that has plagued the Bulldogs all season, and will continue to, is a -5.2 rebounding margin per outing. This is where the Bulldogs must make some improvement but will also have to shoot very well from three to overcome these deficiencies. Against a team like Stanford, the status quo in this area will net you a double digit loss without a doubt.

What to expect:

A loss, but hopefully a close one under double digits and some positives to build on heading out on their first WAC road swing of the season. Getting off to a good start in Ruston and Las Cruces to open WAC play will be crucial for the Bulldogs, and how they play Saturday against the Cardinal may dictate some of that. The Bulldogs will get pounded on the glass, it will take a great shooting effort from the guards, and some semblance of solid contribution off the bench.

MBs Take:

I really don’t know what to expect here, but I do see the Dogs dropping this one in Palo Alto. Bell and Miller keep it close but the size of the Twins and the pounding of the offensive glass takes its toll and the Dogs lose 71-63.

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