clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Brian's Take On Stanford!

Brian tells us he has watched Stanford a lot and offers us this preview.
Thanks Brian!


Considered a strength for the Devil’s, the backcourt
containing sophomore phenom point guard Jason Williams
(18.6ppg) as well as swingmen Mike Dunleavy Jr.
(11.4ppg, 5.2rpg) and Nate James (13.9ppg) should be
able to handle whoever Stanford throws at them, from
Mike McDonald (6.7ppg) to Casey Jacobsen (15.3ppg,
4.2rpg). McDonald, the Cardinal’s court leader and
starting point guard has worked on his previously
atrocious outside jumper and will now hit the three
with consistency (50% so far this year). The key for
Williams will be to shut down McDonald on the
defensive end and attack him offensively, hopefully
getting him in foul trouble. The Stanford backup point
men are mediocre, and Stanford’s rhythm is destroyed
when Tony Giovacchini (3.5ppg) and flashy Julius
Barnes (6.2ppg) enter the game. If Duke falls into the
trap that they did last year in leaving McDonald open
consistently, they will be in trouble. However, if
they shut down McDonald and keep him off the floor,
Duke will have the edge.

Jacobsen and Dunleavy provide another matchup to
watch. Both were heavily recruited by Duke to fill the
void left by Trajan Langdon. Dunleavy committed early
to Krzyzewski’s squad, leaving the Glendora, CA native
Jacobsen without a scholarship. He turned to Mike
Montgomery’s Cardinal and has found a niche in Palo
Alto. Jacobsen is a pure shooter who is just now
starting to penetrate and is still inexperienced in
that area. He is also quite slow, which hampers him in
this regard. His slow foot speed on defense is evident
by the number of times he gets backdoored. Even
against the unknown Sacred Heart Pioneers, Jacobsen
got burned twice on nice cuts to the basket. Part of
this weakness is due to the fact that he constantly
overplays his man, something that Duke will easily
overcome with their superior quickness. Dunleavy’s key
to success in this game will lie in his ability to
guard Jacobsen away from the ball. Casey makes very
nice moves to get open for his patented spot up trey
and if Mike can take away the passing lane, Jacobsen
will be forced to find other ways to score, which
should take him out of the game.

Nate James (13.9ppg) also is handed a large task in
stopping deadly marksman Ryan Mendez (13.2ppg). Mendez
is a very talented shooter who can kill a squad that
doesn’t pay enough attention to him. He seemingly
becomes invisible at some points during the Stanford
offense, but always finds himself open at the end for
a spot up 3. He loves the corners, and fades there on
more than one occasion a half. However, he possesses
little skill off the dribble and if James can stop his
outside shot with good defensive pressure, Mendez can
easily be taken out of the game.

The bench depth at backcourt for each team is similar.
Although Duke has only 1 guy that consistently plays
off the bench, namely super-freshmen Chris Duhon, he
is much better than Stanford’s Tony Giovacchini,
Julius Barnes, and Matt Lottich. Giovacchini is a
fundamentally solid ballhandler that possesses a
decent outside shot and decent penatration ability,
but the offense falters with him at the helm. Barnes
is a very flashy point guard who would be the starter
if not for Mike Montgomery’s distaste for his show-off
mentality. He has a good outside shot and is a great
ballhandler who can cover the court as quickly and
J-Dub. He also can dunk in a great fashion, a feat for
which the 5-10 sophomore receives much applause from
the home crowd. Lottich, a multi-sport frosh, is the
fastest player on the team, running a sub-5 minute
mile. He is a miniature version of Jacobsen, however,
he must work harder to get open and is more of a
hustle player. His shot has also not progressed as far
as Casey’s has. Lottich will see little playing time
against the Duke team.

Overall, Duke has a significant backcourt advantage
whether or not they can stop McDonald, Mendez and
Jacobsen. However, to make up for the advantage
Stanford holds in overall depth and low-post play,
Williams, Dunleavy, James, Duhon, and Co. must play at
the top of their game.


Naismith Award Candidates Carlos Boozer (14.7ppg) and
Shane Battier (15.3ppg) will face a tough challenge
attempting to contain Jason and Jarron Collins (12.5
and 12.7ppg, respectively), a pair of 7-foot twins.
Having Shane playing PF really helps the Devils’ in
this matchup, as he can bring one of the brothers
outside to contend with his three-point shot. Battier,
who has not been scoring of late, must turn it up a
notch for this game and take the game into his own
hands. Another key lies in Carlos Boozer, who must use
his quickness advantage and good post footwork to
score, since he is a good 4 inches smaller than both
of the Stanford post players. Boozer must also
concentrate on avoiding foul trouble because, just as
Stanford lacks in quality depth in the backcourt, Duke
lacks in any type of depth in the frontcourt. Although
Duke has been pleasantly surprised by Casey Sanders
(highest block to minute ratio on the team) this year,
he is significantly smaller than the twins’ bulk wise,
something that they will take advantage of if Boozer
is off the court.

Matt Christenson might also play a big role in the
game not for his offensive talent, but for his big
body and his hustle play. Christenson is somewhat
reminiscent of Stanford’s former player Mark Madsen,
who was a hustle player without a lot of offensive
game. If he can occasionally spell Boozer without a
large drop-off in defensive pressure, Duke will be in
good shape.

Stanford’s bench depth in the post is significant.
Justin Davis, a redshirt freshman, is just returning
from an injury and is a monster rebounder. He
possesses athletic ability normally not found in
Stanford players, but lacks any offensive talent. In
fact, if he is in the ball game down the stretch,
fouling him would not be a bad idea, as he is an
atrocious free throw shooter. Davis is also
foul-prone, shown by the fact that in his first game
back from injury vs. Sacred Heart, he fouled out in
only 14 minutes of playing time. Whether this was due
to rust is unknown. Curtis Borchardt, the best bench
post player, is another 7 footer. However, Borchardt,
like Sanders of Duke, doesn’t have a lot of strength.
As well, he is still riddled by a foot injury that
sidelined him for much of last year’s tournament. Teyo
Johnson, a Julius Pepper’s play-a-like, is a freshman
that was the Cardinal’s third string quarterback in
the football season. He has made a flawless transition
to basketball and figures to give the Devil’s trouble
with his physicality. However, he is currently
bothered by a deep-thigh bruise and has not been
playing much.

Duke’s key to control the inside is running. Neither
Collins’ runs well, especially Jason, and if Duke can
force Stanford to play an uptempo style, it will be
hard for the Collins to get involved. This will open
up the game for the quicker bench players of Stanford,
therefore playing into the Devils gameplan and hurting
Stanford’s chances of winning.


Facing Coach K for the second time, Stanford’s Mike
Montgomery will be looking for his second victory.
Montogomery, or “Monty” as he is called, is an
old-school basketball type coach, who despises dunks
and showy play. He also has in the past had a strange
habit of pulling the players who are making good
plays. He will rotate subs in after around the first 5
to 6 minutes, but if the Georgia Tech game is any
indication, only 8 to 9 players will play any
meaningful minutes. This bodes well for Duke as it may
mean that Stanford’s depth is not used to its full


This year features a much more favorable matchup for
the Blue Devils, as their super-frosh of last year are
now super-soph’s, and Mark Madsen and David Moseley,
the two best Stanford players vs. Duke last year, have
graduated. However, Duke must still play a top-notch
game somewhat like they did vs. Illinois in order to
pull out a victory on what is almost a home floor for
Stanford (although there might even be more DK fans
than SD fans). If they do so, it will provide revenge
for last years loss as well as prepare the Devils’
for the ACC season and the NCAA tourney, where they
will have more games of this caliber.