March 6, 2007
Thoughts heading into Staples Center
Now that the Pac-10 tournament is starting, here are some things to look out for as Stanford attempts to take the championship.Will Anthony Goods be back? Stanford better hope so, as the chances of success from here on out likely lie with his status. Goods is easily Stanford's best guard and the Cardinal certainly need strong guard play in order to win the conference. It would not surprise us to see Goods play, but one would assume even a slightly Goods is going to see the court as Stanford's season could depend on it.
Will Robin Lopez step up? Lopez has really taken a back seat to his brother and it is a shame because there has been a drop off because of it. Robin adds a different element than Brook, but lately there has been no element at all lately.
Robin seems to be lackadaisical and he will really need to pick up the pace if Stanford is going to be successful. Stanford's bread and butter is in the post, whether it is Brook or Robin. However, the Cardinal would be better off if it was both of them.
Can Stanford overcome a hostile atmosphere? Stanford is going to travel well, but USC fans should dominate the arena. It is basically a road game for the Cardinal and that has not been the best situation for Stanford this season.
The Cardinal have to approach this as if it is a road game and if Stanford can take the crowd out of it early, the Cardinal should be in good shape. Preparation lies with Trent Johnson and the belief here is that he will prepare his team for the crowd with the main thing affecting whether they win or lose being the way Stanford plays.
How many wins will it take? Some feel as if Stanford is on the bubble. The feeling here is that they are not, but a win certainly would not hurt. If Stanford loses in the first round game, it is somewhat difficult to argue for a tournament berth. However, a win should definitely lock things up. After the first win, it will be all about seeding as Stanford really hopes to avoid a second round game with a one seed.
Will they win it? Who knows, but chances are they are going to give it a solid try. Stanford definitely has the players to defeat USC, but it will be mighty difficult to take out the Bruins. If Stanford plays its game, it is going to have a major advantage but the goal of opponents will be to make it a running game, something that may not play to Stanford's strengths.
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