Stanford Cardinals vs. Washington State Cougars Preview and Pick

Stanford Cardinal (17-3) +4.5, N/A O/U at Washington State Cougars
(17-3) -4.5, N/A O/U, Friel Court, Pullman, Washington, 3 PM Eastern, Tuesday

by Badger of

Two teams with identical 17-3 records clash in a crucial Pac-10
Conference matchup when the No. 14-ranked Stanford Cardinal travel to
take on the No. 9-ranked Washington State Cougars Saturday at Friel
Court in Pullman.

Stanford comes into Saturdays game with huge momentum, having beaten
Washington 65-51 Thursday for their fourth win in a row. After losing
their Pac-10 opener versus UCLA (81-74), and then stumbling against
Oregon (71-66) on January 13th, the Cardinal have cruised through the
tough Pac-10 schedule and currently sit in second place with a 6-2
conference record.

Washington State on the other hand has found the early Pac-10
schedule very frustrating. After staring out strong with only an
early season loss to UCLA (81-74), the Cougars have now dropped two
out of their last three games in Pac-10 play. After losing at Arizona
(76-64) two Thursdays ago, the Cougars were stunned by California at
home this past Thursday by a score of 69-64.

Despite the Cougars recent hardship, oddsmakers have opened the game
with Washington State as 4-point favorites. As of press time, most online gambling sites have yet to offer a total or moenyline on this game.

Stanford is led on offense by two 7-footers, the Lopez twins Brook
and Robin. Brook is more nimble and has better skill than Robin, as
his 19.0 points per game average and 8.4 rebounds per game would
indicate. Robin averages 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and is
more of a defensive presence than an offensive threat.

Guard Anthony Goods (11.6 ppg) is the Cardinals best outside scoring
threat, but the offense clearly goes through Brook Lopez as they
barely reach 70 points per game as a team (71.0). Their 11.0
rebounding margin as a team also gives Stanford a huge edge in second-
chance points.

Washington State uses a patient, methodical approach on offense that
head coach Tony Bennett learned from his dad Dick Bennett. The
Cougars only average 68 points per game, but they rarely take bad
shots (49.3 FG 10th in NCAA) as they usually work the full 35-
second clock to produce a good look.

Guard Derrick Low is the Cougars top scorer, at 13.6 points per game.
But center Aron Baynes (11.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) gives them a solid inside
presence and guard Kyle Weaver (11.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 45.5 3-pt%) is
another good option out on the perimeter for the Cougars.

As you would expect with two 7-footer patrolling the lane, defense is
where Stanford stands out among the crowd. Robin is one of the top
shot blockers in the country at 2.2 per game, and combined with his
brother and the rest of the team the Cardinals hold opponents to just
57.2 points per game (5th in NCAA) on 38.7 percent shooting (21st).

Washington State is no slouch on defense either. In fact, the Cougars
are actually better at keeping opponents off the scoreboard (54.6
points allowed per game 3rd), but they do allow a higher shooting
percentage from both the floor (41.0) and 3-point range (35.0).

These two schools split last years series with both teams winning
and covering the spread on their home floor. Stanford did win an ugly
39-37 game back in February of 2006, and has won four of the last
five games overall straight up.

Neither teams has been a very good bet so far this season, as
Washington State is 10-9 ATS while Stanford is 10-10 ATS. But the two
have been going in opposite directions lately, as Stanford has
covered the number in three straight, while the Cougars have failed
to cover in any of their last four games. However, the home team is a
strong 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings head-to-head.

As you would expect, the under is one of the strongest betting trends
for both of these teams. The under bet has cashed in on 14 of the
Cardinals last 16 games overall. Washington State has come in under
the total in seven of their last 10 home games as well.

Neither team has any significant injuries to report, although the Cardinal will have the tough task of playing two games on the road in
three days, but thats just standard operating procedure in the Pac-10.

Badgers Pick: If you are a fan of high-scoring, up-n-down basketball, I have a suggestion for you do not watch this game.
Most bookies have yet to list a total for this one, but if its even close to the 120’s, snatch that under bet up in a hurry. As far as picking a
side goes, Im staying with the trend of the home team covering in
this one. Washington State got caught looking ahead on Thursday
versus Cal, so they have something to prove in this game. Take the
Cougars minus the points.