If Stanford (20-9) wins both of their remaining games, the Pac-12 bubble team should secure themselves an at-large bid to the 2020 March Madness college basketball tournament. Stanford seeks a season sweep with a visit to #13 Oregon in the season finale next Monday.
Stanford faces Oregon State this weekend and an untimely loss to the Beavers would crush their March Madness aspirations. The Cardinal are riding a four-game winning streak with two big games to go.
Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, and Stanford are all clustered together on the dreaded March Madness bubble. Only five Pac-12 teams are expected to advance to the Big Dance, including the automatic bid to the conference tournament champion.
ESPN’s Bracketology currently has USC with a #9 seed, Stanford with a #10 seed, and UCLA missing out on the bubble.
UCLA 12-5 (19-11)
Oregon 11-5 (22-7)
Arizona State 10-6 (19-10)
Colorado 10-7 (21-9)
USC 10-7 (21-9)
Stanford 9-7 (20-9)
Arizona 9-7 (19-10)
The big knock against Stanford is their 3-19 record against Top-25 teams under head basketball coach Jerod Haase. They’re 2-2 this season though, with one more ranked team on the schedule.
Stanford won seven games to start the season before a soul-crushing 1-point loss at the buzzer to Butler at the Hall of Fame Basketball Classic in Kansas City. They’d win eight of their next nine games with a sole loss against #5 Kansas. Stanford was 15-2 and looking like the team to beat at the start of the Pac-12 regular season. That’s the moment things went off the rails for Hasse and the Cardinal.
During a horrendous eight-game stretch, Stanford went 1-7, which is the primary reason they find themselves sweating the March Madness bubble. Stanford started its downturn with a three-game skid, including close losses at USC, at Cal, and against Oregon State. The 2-point loss at Berkley against Cal especially stung because Stanford lost to their Bay Area rival while posting their lowest scoring output of the season with just 50 points.
They snapped that streak with a 70-60 victory over Oregon (ranked #11 at the time) but then resumed their losing ways. They lost two more games on the road at Utah and at #24 Colorado before losing two home games against Arizona State and Arizona.
Stanford finally ended that four-game skid with a tremendous 72-64 win over Washington.
“We needed that one,” said Hasse. “Big time.”
Stanford won their next three games, including Sunday’s victory over #21 Colorado.
Beating the Buffs
Stanford’s best player hails from Germany. Oscar da Silva, a 6-foot-9 forward, leads Stanford with 16.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He knocks down 58.7% of his shots. Da Silva exploded for 27 points in the win over Oregon, and the Cardinal hope he can conjure up some more of his scoring magic in the season finale.
Stanford picked off #21 Colorado 72-64 over the weekend to put themselves in a favorable spot among other Pac-12 bubble teams, including USC and UCLA.
Despite the searing pain, Bryce Wills played through a sprained ankle injury and led Stanford with 19 points.
“It was truly questionable if Bryce was able to play all the way through warmups,” said Haase. “He is a warrior and played to his strengths.”
Meanwhile, da Silva chipped in 16 in the win.
On Deck: Beavers and Ducks
Stanford lost to Oregon State in January. They fell in the hole early and could never recover. Oregon State’s Jarod Lucas came off the bench to score 21 points in the win. Stanford shut down Oregon State’s perimeter game, but their own starters struggled, shooting just 5-for-15 from downtown. de Silva led all scorers with 22 points.
Stanford could absorb a loss to Oregon, but only if they defeat Oregon State. Losses to both Oregon and Oregon State would spell doom for Stanford. They would rather not risk appealing to the fickle selection committee for an invite to the Big Dance. At least they have their future in their own hands. Win two more games, and Stanford will punch their ticket.
If all else fails, Stanford has a last-gasp chance for an automatic bid to March Madness by winning the Pac-12 conference basketball tournament. Trying to win four games in four days is a daunting task, however. Stanford can improve their Pac-12 tourney chances by securing fourth place or the #4 seed. The top four seeds earn first-round byes, while the fifth-place through 12th-place teams face each other in the opening round.
- Remaining Games: (2) at Oregon State, at Oregon
- Key Wins: #11 Oregon, #21 Colorado, Oklahoma, UCLA
- Losses: Kansas, Colorado, Butler, USC, Cal, Oregon State, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State
KenPom has ranked Stanford #35.