Getting to know: Stanford basketball
No. 2 Kansas returns home after winning the NIT Season Tip-Off during Thanksgiving weekend.
It has been a long time since KU (5-0) was in action, while Stanford (4-3) is coming off a 79-67 win over Portland State. The Cardinal have won consecutive games after dropping three contests in a row, including a pair of decisions in the Bahamas.
“If you look at the most amazing stat with them, opponents have made 25 threes against them, for the year. So that's 3.5 a game,” KU coach Bill Self said. “They're getting out and they're guarding the arc and with their length, they can do that. That has been a big part of our offense, so I'd say that's something that's pretty impressive. "
Kansas plays host to Stanford at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Series history: Kansas holds a 10-3 all-time series advantage against Stanford, including victories in each of the last two seasons, an 89-74 win on Dec. 3, 2016, in Allen Fieldhouse and a 75-54 win on Dec. 21, 2017, in Sacramento.
BREAKING DOWN STANFORD
No. 0 — F KZ Okpala | 6-9, 215, so.
Through seven games, Okpala is leading the team in scoring with an average of 16.3 points per game.
Okpala started the season off with a 29-point outing and then added 23 points in the second game. Since then, however, Okpala has scored more than 11 points just twice over Stanford’s previous five games.
Okpala has played 78.9 percent of the team’s minutes thus far.
No. 1 — G Daejon Davis | 6-3, 185, so.
Davis makes Stanford’s motion offense go, which has been the case since he stepped on campus.
Davis leads the team with 19 assists and is also tied for the team lead with 10 steals. He averages 7.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Last season, Davis ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in assists (4.8 apg), which earned him a spot on the Pac-12 all-freshman team.
As a sophomore, Davis has posted an assist rate of 21.8 compared to his mark of 29.2 during his freshman season.
No. 13 — F Oscar da Silva | 6-9, 225, so.
Oscar da Silva is tied with Okpala for the team lead with a 6.0 rebound average and he scores 7.1 points per outing.
Oscar da Silva put together an impressive rookie campaign last year. He set a Stanford freshman record with a team-leading 55.8 three-point field goal percentage. He played in 35 games, making 11 starts, en route to averaging 25 minutes per contest.
This season, he’s hitting the glass hard by posting a defensive rebound rate of 19 percent.
No. 23 — G Cormac Ryan | 6-5, 190, fr.
Ryan is second on the team in scoring with an average of 10.7 points per game.
The freshman guard does a majority of his damage from deep, as he leads the Cardinal with 15 3-pointers made. Coming out of high school, Ryan was rated the sixth-best shooting guard in the 2018 class by ESPN. He scored 1,423 career points in his three years at Milton Academy.
ONE THING STANFORD DOES WELL
Stanford defends the 3-point shot very well, allowing opponents to hit just 24 percent of its shots from beyond the arc. That mark is good for the fifth-best clip in the nation. The Cardinal also allow the fewest percentage of 3-point attempts in the nation.
ONE AREA STANFORD STRUGGLES
Stanford hasn’t taken care of the rock through the early part of the season. The Cardinal have posted a turnover rate of 22.6, which ranks 316th in the nation according to KenPom.
MEET THE COACH
The Cardinal are coached by former KU guard Jerod Haase, who is 37-36 in his third season at Stanford and 117- 89 in his seventh season overall.
According to OddsShark, Kansas is a 20-point favorite as of Saturday morning. I know it is a large number, but I like KU to come out and look like one of the best teams in the country after not playing in over a week. Stanford’s not a great 3-point shooting team, which is what most squads try to do when playing against KU.
My prediction: Kansas 90, Stanford 67
Record against spread: 2-3