NCAA tournament team previews: Stanford Cardinal
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team's national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 21-12,10-8 in Pac-12
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 112.3 (39th) / 98.9 (59th)
Seed: No. 10 in South
Impact player: Dwight Powell, senior forward, 14.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 3.2 apg
The Case For:
In the ever-confusing Pac-12, the Cardinal scored upset wins over UCLA and Cal and took Arizona down to the wire, which means this group can and will be in just about every game. Stanford looked like its season might go south in a hurry after it lost three players to season-ending injuries in early December, but the Cardinal rallied to save coach Johnny Dawkins' job and earn a bid to the tournament. Clearly, this is a tough bunch. And it's a veteran group, with a starting lineup that features all upperclassmen (two seniors and three juniors). Dwight Powell's play is critical, but don't be surprised if senior forward Josh Huestis, who averages 11.4 points and 8.3 rebounds, becomes someone Stanford leans on in March.
The Case Against:
Four guys averaged more than 32 minutes a game, which means the Cardinal aren't deep. And while Stanford does have the impressive wins mentioned above, it also has puzzling losses to teams like Oregon State and Washington, likely the result of a program that still learning how to win when it's supposed to. No player on Stanford's current roster has ever been to the NCAA tournament -- the Cardinal's last trip was in 2008 -- and inexperience can be a killer in March.
SI prediction: Lose to New Mexico in second roundView complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts