Stanford Cardinal (15-4, 4-2)
- Head Coach: Jerod Haase (4th Season)
- Top Performer: Oscar da Silva (16.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG)
- Points For: 71.5 PPG (189th)
- Points Against: 59.3 PPG (7th)
- Last Game/Streak: 52-50 Loss at California (2L)
On Thursday, it’ll be exactly two weeks since Stanford went into Pauley Pavilion and beat UCLA on their home floor for the first time in fifteen years. While it was a remarkable victory for a program who tied last season’s overall wins total (15) from the 2019-2020 campaign in the contest, it may also be one of those signature moments for this Stanford squad if they can hang on and become a legitimate NCAA Tournament team.
So far though, that result has seemed to only distract Stanford, who appears somewhat vulnerable for the first time all season.
Part of the Cardinal’s recent struggles are simply that the beginning of their season went so well, they eventually had to come back down to earth. Stanford entered conference play with 11 wins and only two defeats, with those coming at the hands of nationally ranked groups in Butler and Kansas. Now in the friendly confines of conference play, the familiarity of teams is simply harder to overcome. Also, Stanford was not supposed to be this good on paper. They simply weren’t.
When you look at what the Cardinal lost from last season, nobody foresaw this Cardinal group leapfrogging into a Pac-12 contender. Big man Oscar da Silva (16.0 PPG) was expected to be a more impactful piece in his third season, but few foresaw the potential all-league type of talent that he’s displayed. Freshman guard Tyrell Terry (15.6 PPG) has taken the league by absolute storm, emerging as one of the best newcomers in a Pac-12 full of standout rookies and other new faces like forward Spencer Jones (9.7 PPG) are just contributing way ahead of schedule.
It’s created a change of the guard within the Cardinal program, as they currently rely less on one figurehead like guard Daejon Davis (8.8 PPG) to carry the load. The more balanced approach, with help from a solid core that includes Bryce Wills (6.4 PPG), Jaiden Delaire (5.6 PPG) and Isaac White (4.3 PPG), has added more consistency to a program that has been outputting mediocrity for years. Maybe, just maybe, Stanford is back.
Across the court from the Cardinal on Thursday night will be Oregon State, who now sit at 12-8 on the year with a 2-6 mark in conference. The Beavers will undoubtedly be trying to right the ship as their post-season hopes slide away and they’ll also be playing with the burning questions of the future status of the coaching staff (which you know, include two of the key player’s fathers) hanging over their heads. If the Beavers can lock down and snag a win in Maples Pavilion, I truly believe the vibe around this program could change overnight.
But another loss with a still daunting schedule ahead may simply be too much for this Oregon State team to overcome. Time is running out on this year’s edition of the Beavers.
Player To Watch
Oscar da Silva (Forward - Junior)
The type of player you’d love to play with and hate to play against, Oscar da Silva is one of those guys who doesn’t do any one thing fantastically well, but just does everything across the board pretty darn good. The 6’ 9” talent shoots an extremely efficient 61.6% from the field and 77.9% from the charity stripe and has begun to add perimeter shooting to his already diverse skill-set. If there’s a number one on the scouting report, it should be da Silva.
- Date: Thursday, January 30th
- Time: 8:00 PM PT
- Location: Maples Pavilion (Stanford, CA)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network