Exorcizing our Stanford demons ...

I wrote yesterday about how the Stanford game tonight at Pauley is a huge opportunity for Howland and our hoops program to shed some of the baggage we accumulated under Steve Lavin. DN has more skinny on this ugly streak in hoops:

Cardinal curse: Tonight the Bruins will try to start conference play on a winning note and also attempt to break a six-game losing streak against Stanford, with the last four losses coming by double digits.

Stanford has won eight of the past 10 against UCLA and has an eight-game winning streak over the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion. The Cardinal last lost on the Bruins' home court during the 1997-98 season, when Howland was leading Northern Arizona toward a NCAA Tournament appearance.
Thankfully unlike football when it comes to ending ugly streaks we have to pray for miracles or ungodlike performances from our talented student athletes to make up for mediocre coaching, in hoops we actually feel pretty good about our chances tonight at Pauley. UBB has more on this game in its usual stellar preview of tonight's game:
As a team, Stanford has not executed well on the offensive end. They are last in the Pac-10 with 40% FG and are shooting 3-pt shots at a low 29% - averaging only 4.1 3-pt FG made per game. In addition, Stanford is last in assists in the Pac-10.

In prior years, Stanford had always been known to play solid defense yet this year they rank ninth in the Pac-10 in total FG% defense at 45% and 3Pt FG defense at 39%; moreover, the Cardinal team is last in steals.

To add insult to a bad preseason, Cardinal junior forward Fred Washington will not play against the Bruins due to left knee tendinitis. Washington gave the Cardinals some athleticism and depth and will be missed.

The picture painted of Stanford's preseason is not a pretty one - it's no surprise they've started the year at 4-4. But whenever a team returns three senior starters like Haryasz, Grunfeld, and Hernandez - it will be a dangerous basketball game.

And considering Stanford's past winning ways at Pauley Pavilion - the Bruins will need to play a solid game tomorrow for the win.
Solid stuff. Make sure to read the whole piece. Who needs to pay for those stale previews from subscription sites when you get this kind of material via the blogosphere. Anyways ... moving on Katz also has a blurb on tonight's game, specifically chiming on Shipp's possible return to the lineup tonight:

Again ... I think it would be wise not to expect too much out of Josh. Let him settle in and get back into complete form over next 2-3 weeks. For now he is going to provide another solid option for Howland to tinker around his lineup. Can't wait till tipoff. This will be tonight's open thread. GO BRUINS.
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