Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Trouble looms for Stanford?
By Matt Giles
In his most recent edition of Tuesday Truths, John Gasaway examined the Pac-12, and noted that Stanford, a team that began the conference slate with a 2-4 record, had the league's second best efficiency margin. Through eleven games, the Cardinal is scoring 1.03 points per possession, one of the few Pac-12 teams to score over one point per possession in conference play. What has helped the squad reverse their slide -- the team has won four of their last five games -- is their ability to increase their point production; in those five games, the squad has used 343 possessions and scored 372 points, an offensive efficiency rate of 1.08 PPP.
However, there is a caveat. While coach Johnny Dawkins has slightly tweaked Stanford's offense -- sets now start with a down-screen being set for Dwight Powell, who then chooses whether to pass to the opposite wing, drive, or shoot -- and opened up the halfcourt, the Cardinal is very dependent on the perimeter shot. Though the team has converted 56 percent of their threes since the thrashing to Colorado, threes define Stanford. Per Ken Pomeroy, more than one-third of Stanford's Pac-12 points come from deep, and while the shots are now falling, it is disconcerting that Stanford has only made 40.1 percent of their twos in conference action. Teams can cool just as quickly as they heat up; while Josh Huestis is in the midst of finally breaking out of his slump, and the re-imagined offensive spacing has allowed better creases to penetrate the lane, Stanford is very susceptible to a mid-February swoon.