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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Stanford Cardinal (Game 21)

On the road at Stanford, can the Beavers snap their two-game losing skid?

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Stanford Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford Cardinal (11-11)

  • Latest BTD Pac-12 Power Rankings: 8th Overall (11-11)
  • Head Coach: Jerod Haase (2nd Season)
  • Top Performer: Reid Travis (19.4 PPG, 7.6 RPG)
  • Points For: 75.0 PPG (149th)
  • Points Against: 75.4 PPG (260th)
  • Last Game/Streak: 89-73 Loss at UCLA (3L)

The Skinny

As exhaustion in the midst of conference play sets in for most teams, Oregon State and Stanford both head into Thursday night’s league contest with losing streaks in tow.

The Beavers have dropped their last two straight contests and four of their last five games overall. The Cardinal spoiled a recent five-game winning streak with three-straight defeats. It’s a case of something’s got-to-give at Maples Pavilion, when a roller-coaster Stanford squad welcomes a rebuilding Oregon State program to it’s friendly confines.

The key match-up in this one should come on the interior, where the Beavers’ regular wrecking crew of Tres Tinkle and Drew Eubanks, will have a formidable group of adversaries to deal with all night long. Forward Reid Travis (19.4 PPG) is the straw that stirs it all for the group, while the consistent and underrated Michael Humphrey (11.4 PPG) is still one of the league’s best-kept secrets. A solid core of pieces like freshman Kezie Okpala (9.0 PPG) and Oscar da Silva (6.0 PPG) have somehow turned the Cardinal into a big-man oriented squad, which has met it’s fair share of praise and criticism under second-year head coach Jerod Haase.

Is the front-court emphasis the best way that this team should be playing? Or should the program be adjusting to the more free-flowing style usually seen in the Pac-12?

What’s hindered the Cardinal in their recent string of losses has been their overall team defense, especially at crucial junctures in games as they try to close out opposing squads. It’s also been their inability to stick to a style of play, as their back-court has become increasingly top-heavy, with Dorian Pickens (13.4 PPG) and Daejon Davis (10.4 PPG) now shouldering most of the load.

If Stanford can find more some more consistency across-the-board and guards in Isaac White (7.4 PPG) and Robert Cartwright (6.6 PPG) can begin to flow back into the thick of things, the Cardinal have a chance to be the well-hyped preseason squad that they were expected to be.

And that’s not good news for the Beavers, who have hit a bit of a mid-season wall as of late.

Players To Watch

Reid Travis (JR - Forward): The all-league talent remains the most feared option on Stanford’s roster, as a bruising and skilled interior force to be reckoned with. The 6’ 8”, 245-pounder is averaging just shy of twenty-points per night, while shooting an impressive 52.2% from the field. The Cardinal find their comfort playing through Travis, a trait that the Beavers will want to obstruct from the get-go.

Dorian Pickens (SR - Guard): The 6’ 5” guard has scored at least 14 points in all of the team’s last four games, which again shows how uneven the scoring distribution in the back-court has gotten for Stanford. Pickens, along with forward Michael Humphrey, has a chance to be the key glue guy for a Cardinal group that could turn some heads in the Pac-12 Tournament. Jerod Haase’s squad just can’t wait until then to finally put their foot on the gas.

Daejon Davis (FR - Guard): The athletic 6’ 3” guard is coming off a 23 point, 10 assist performance against UCLA, which shows the explosive nature of this rising star in the league. Stanford’s less-than-opportunistic approach sometimes has hindered Davis throughout the first 22 games, but sometimes it’s exactly what he needs to be kept under control on the court. As this freshman develops, there’s a chance he becomes one of the league’s best all-around guards, pending his stays in school down the line.

Game Info

  • Date: Thursday, February 1st
  • Time: 8:00 PM PT
  • Location: Maples Pavilion (Stanford, CA)
  • Coverage: Fox Sports 1