Getting to know: Stanford basketball
Winning three of its last four games, Stanford has started to bounce back from a slow start to the season. The Cardinal, dealing with a couple of injuries, was ranked fifth in the preseason Pac-12 media poll.
Led by redshirt junior Reid Travis, the leading scorer in the Pac-12, the Cardinal are looking for its first victory against a Power Five opponent this season heading into Thursday’s game against Kansas in Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center (10 p.m. CT, ESPN2).
The Cardinal (6-6) have played the last 10 games without Dorian Pickens, who averaged 12.6 points last year, and Marcus Sheffield (6.7 points per game last season). That’s left Stanford thin in the backcourt and caused problems with its number of turnovers.
"We can’t become passive," Haase said. "We do need to be the aggressor. We need to be good enough to make those plays. We’ll find out if we are good enough at this point to be aggressive and make those plays without turning the basketball over.”
Fun fact: This is the second season of a four-year series between the Cardinal and Jayhawks. On Dec. 1, 2018, the two teams will meet in Lawrence. In 2019, Stanford will host a home game at Maples Pavilion.
Series history: Kansas leads 9-3, which includes an 89-74 victory at Allen Fieldhouse last year when Devonte’ Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk combined for 28 points. The Jayhawks are 0-2 against the Pac-12 in non-conference play this season.
BREAKING DOWN STANFORD
No. 22 — F Reid Travis | 6-8, 245, r-jr.
One of the most talented players in the Pac-12, Travis eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier during a victory over San Francisco on Sunday. Travis is averaging 22.2 points and 7.3 rebounds, shooting 53.4 percent from the floor and 71.3 percent at the free-throw line.
Travis was 19 of 22 at the free-throw line in a loss to Kansas last season, setting a record for most free throws attempted by an opponent at Allen Fieldhouse. The Minneapolis native has attempted 101 free throws this season, only 31 attempts behind the entire KU team.
He’s tried to extend his range to the 3-point line, shooting 25 percent on 24 attempts from behind the arc. He received an extra year of eligibility after the NCAA approved his medical hardship petition.
- "He’s a monster," Stanford coach Jarod Haase said. "He’s a heck of a player. We’re able to free him up some, but a lot of it he does on his own."
No. 10 — F Michael Humphrey | 6-9, 245, sr.
Ranking fourth in the Pac-12 in rebounding, Humphrey is averaging a team-best 8.7 boards per game He’s recorded three double-doubles, averaging 10.9 points.
Humphrey, who was a high school quarterback in Phoenix, is shooting 11 of 20 from the 3-point line this season. He had nine points and six rebounds in 23 minutes vs. Kansas last year.
No. 1— G Daejon Davis | 6-3, 175, fr.
A slashing point guard, Davis attempts 56 percent of his shots at the rim according to hoop-math.com. Davis is averaging 9.7 points, 4.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds in his first collegiate season.
From Seattle, he’s struggled with ball handling at times, committing 54 turnovers in 10 games. That includes 28 turnovers in his last four games.
ONE THING STANFORD DOES WELL
Beyond earning trips to the free throw line (thanks to Travis), the Cardinal are shooting 52 percent on two-point shots. Stanford can overpower opponents in the paint with its talented forwards.
ONE AREA STANFORD STRUGGLES
As a team that likes to feed the post, Stanford has trouble with turnovers. The Cardinal average 16.5 turnovers per game, allowing opposing teams to start fast breaks. Stanford peaked with 28 turnovers in a loss to Portland State, but has 15 or more turnovers in five straight games.
MEET THE COACH
In his second season with the Cardinal, the former Kansas guard earned his 100th career coaching victory in Sunday’s victory over San Francisco. Jerod Haase had an 80-53 record in four seasons at UAB, which included one NCAA Tournament appearance.
Haase ranks 11th in KU program history in steals (174) and 13th in 3-pointers (156).
Kansas by 15. Travis is a magnet for drawing fouls and will likely be the toughest test for Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot to stay out of foul trouble. Unlike fellow Pac-12 teams Washington and Arizona State, the Jayhawks should have a huge advantage with their backcourt. I expect to see a lot of double teams in the post, forcing Stanford to shoot from the 3-point line.
My prediction: Kansas 83, Stanford 64. Bobby’s record vs. the spread: 5-5.