The Pac 12 tournament gets started tomorrow in Las Vegas and the first matchup that intrigued me is the same one that we enjoyed on Super Bowl Sunday. That game saw the Cardinal fall apart down the stretch winning the game but blowing the 10 points spread in the final three minutes. The Cardinal are losers of four straight, mainly due to their star center Oscar de Silva. The Cardinal leading scorer should be active for this game and he has been dominant in their first two meetings with the Golden Bears scoring 23 and 24 in those two victories. The Cardinal will also have star freshman Ziaire Williams who missed both games against California this year. Williams will bring more trouble for a California defense that gives up a lot of easy buckets in the paint.
The California Bears lean on their outside shooting, Matt Bradley and Grant Antevich both shoot over 35% from deep, while Andre Kelly anchors the middle. The California offense will have their hands full against Stanford who ranks 31st in th antion in defensive efficiency. The addition of the length that Zaire Williams brings should make it a miserable night for the Golden Bears. Stanford should be fully healthy for the first time in a while and their depth and defensive efficiency will be way too much for California. The opening line of – 6 for Stanford seems like it is biased on the recent losses for Stanford rather than the complete talent mismatch.
Play of the day: Stanford Cardinal – 6
Colorado has the leadership of one of the best guards in the country McKinley Wright. Wright has been amazing this season averagin 14 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He has a great backcourt mate in D’Shawn Schwartz who is shooting 40% from three on the season. As a team Colorado is shooting 38% on the season which is tied for the best mark in the Pac12. The Buffaloes have a solid interior presence with Evan Battey, who had a stellar performance against Stanford in their first meeting scoring 13 points and adding 12 boards. Colorado’s defense has had its issues defending the three, luckily for them they are facing the worst three point shooting team in the Pac12.
Since the loss of Daejon Davis the Stanford Cardinal have had an issue turning the ball over. They are the worst in the Pac12 giving the ball away nearly 20% of the time. Freshman Zaire Williams has come back to the team in a limited role as he recovers from an injury. The young forward was great against Colorado in their first game, putting up 17 points in 33 minutes. Without him the Stanford offense has struggled, losing 5 points per 100 possessions with him out. Oscar Da Silva and Jaden Delaire have both stepped up in the absence of Williams, to find the offense they will have to lean on their frontcourt and play the slow game.
Colorado is an efficient offense with a point guard advantage. The Cardinal without Daejon Davis have not been the same offense. They don’t have the guards to handle the pressure of an elite level defense. Bryce Wills return will help the offense avoid the turnover bug, but they still have a lot of issues if he can’t play a full allotment of minutes. The Buffaloes will take care of business on defense and their offense is efficient enough to put up points.
Play of the day: Colorado Buffaloes Pick