As I watch the baseball top 25 scroll by for easily the fifth time, here's a better ticker idea for the Pac-12 Network. Most of the people watching the game are either Stanford or Oregon fans; no offense, but this isn't exactly Duke/UNC here in terms of national draw. So why not take each school and scroll through all their in-season sports? For each sport, give me the team's rank, record, last game and next game, and if there's a particularly notable fact, include that too. Your viewers would be more interested in that than seeing, now for the sixth time, that Mississippi State is No. 14 in baseball. Plus, it naturally ties into and cross-promotes all of Stanford and Oregon's other sports – which are going to be broadcast where else but the Pac-12 Network. If this were ESPN, we would have been seeing this ticker long ago.
What a block!
Starting the second half with three fouls, Dwight Powell comes out of nowhere to block away a would-be dunk on an Oregon fast break. It's all for naught, of course, as someone forgets to box out and so Oregon's Tony Woods has an uncontested tip-in on the ensuing possession, but as Trent Johnson once said, it is what it is.
That's No. 4
Powell picks up his fourth foul, a legitimate whistle, less than two minutes into the second half. Forget Dominic Artis being out: if Stanford ends up coming back tonight, they will have earned it, having done so without their best player for huge stretches.
Instead, things appears to be moving in the wrong direction, as Oregon quickly builds to a 37-30 lead, their biggest margin of the day, and leads 37-32 at the 16-minute media timeout. One reason for the hole: Stanford is just 1-of-9 deep since a 2-of-3 start.
Oregon's defense is the best in the conference, per KenPom.com's advanced stats. A major reason why is that the Ducks force turnovers at a higher rate than anyone in the league, steals in particular. Stanford, meanwhile, coughs it up less than anyone in conference play, so something had to give today. Thus far, it has been the Stanford offense, with nine turnovers to just five assists. Josh Huestis in particular has struggled handling the rock, with four turnovers to nary an assist.
Calling all Booties who keep statistics on these things. What is Stanford's plus/minus with and without Dwight Powell on the floor tonight? [Edit: And let's forget the meaningless Stanford run at the end to halve a 20-point deficit.] I understand he is the Cardinal's best player, but this is getting ridiculous. Since Powell left with the score 33-28, Oregon has gone on a 13-6 run, as Stanford is just 2-of-12 in the second half. That's on top of the 14-2 run the Ducks managed in the first half, largely in Powell's absence. The good news is, with this one quickly slipping away, Powell is back on the court at the 11:24 mark, four fouls and all. Oregon would be wise to go at him.
Oregon now has 10 steals after Christian Sanders was swiped. The Cardinal have given up 12 offensive rebounds and are minus-nine in the category. Oregon is just 8-of-14 from the free throw line, and leads 51-36.
There it is!
Fans have been clamoring long and hard for Johnny Dawkins to show more emotion, and the cameras didn't catch the act in question, but whatever it was, it earned Johnny Dawkins a technical foul. With Stanford in full-on oh crap mode, I guess a technical to fire the troops up is worth a shot.
Returning the favor
Stanford did beat this same Oregon squad in Maples, 76-52. With the score 60-39 at the eight-minute media timeout, we're right on pace for an eerily similar final score today.
Never up, never in
Obviously, when you lose by 20-plus, which Stanford looks likely to do, down 24 at the five-minute mark, the answer to what went wrong is, well, everything. One big problem, however, is that Oregon has shot 59 shots to Stanford's 41, for nearly a 3:2 ratio. Bright, Randle and Huestis with a combined 13 turnovers accounts for much of that disparity, and Oregon's rebounding margin, still plus-nine, more than accounts for the rest of it. Of course, that Stanford is only 33 percent on the night doesn't help matters either, but even if the Cardinal were shooting a hearty 50 percent from the field, they'd still be trailing by eight! Ouch. After Robbie Lemons airballs a corner three, the score reads 73-51 Ducks at the under-four media timeout.
Stanford will fall to 16-12 overall and 7-8 in conference, which puts them in eighth place. Assuming now they'll need to win the Pac-12 Tournament to go dancing, the Cardial will need to win four games in four days in Las Vegas. If the season ended today, they'd first draw No. 9 seed Washington, and then No. 1 seed Arizona. Stanford is 0-3 against those squads this season. With a sweep there, it would likely be the No. 4 Cal/No. 5 Arizona State winner in the semifinals, and then probably No. 2 Oregon or No. 3 UCLA in the finals. That is a tough path entirely of the Cardinal's own making.
Here, the reserves ran out the final four minutes and Stanford's second string did well enough to keep it closer than Oregon had at Maples, thanks to a 19-6 closing spurt. Your final is 77-66, Oregon. Carlos Emory led all scorers with 17, while Powell added 16 for the Cardinal.
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