Through five conference games, Stanford is last in the Pac-10 heading into Thursday’s home game against Oregon State.
But the Cardinal is also tied for seventh, just 1.5 games out of first. A team’s status changes from game to game in the Pac-10 this season, and the Cardinal hopes to end its two-game losing streak against the Beavers, who swept Stanford last season with pretty much the same personnel it has now.
The Beavers have won two of their last three and are playing much better than they were two weeks ago. The recent improved played of center Roeland Schaftenaar, who was outstanding in both games against the Cardinal last season, is a major reason why.
But Stanford is one of just three Pac-10 teams unbeaten at home in conference play (Arizona State and USC are the others) and will try to stay that way despite having just six scholarship player available, with the loss of Andrew Zimmermann (foot) and Gabriel Harris (foot) for about a month.
Cal got hammered by Washington in its most recent game, but the Bears (11-6, 3-2) are still just a half-game behind first-place Arizona State and are at home on Thursday against Oregon, which has lost three in row. The Ducks are 2-0 on the road and 0-3 at home in conference games, so being on the road is probably good thing for the Ducks, whose success seems to be tied to how well center Michael Dunigan plays. It’s uncertain whether Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez (knee) and forward Markuri Sanders-Frison (back) will play. Cal’s Jerome Randle scored 39 points in the win over Washington State, then had just five in the loss to Washington two days later.
Washington and Arizona State are the hottest teams in the Pac-10 at the moment.
The Huskies clobbered both Cal and Stanford last week, and their two stars — Quincy Pondexter and Isaiah Thomas — were outstanding, with Thomas being particularly effective on the defensive end against Randle and Stanford’s Jeremy Green. But the Huskies (13-5, 3-3) are winless this season away from home (0-4, including lopsided losses in both Pac-10 road games) and must go on the road for Thursday’s game at UCLA.
However, UCLA (7-10, 2-3) has not been very good at home, losing two of three conference games at Pauley Pavilion and coming off an embarrassing 21-point home loss to USC. Bruins point guard Jerime Anderson (hip) is questionable for the game, and Nikola Dragovic, who had been shooting well lately, went 0-for-6 for two points against USC.
On Thursday, USC (11-6, 3-2) will play its first home game since learning that it is ineligible for postseason play. The Trojans have been as consistent as anyone in the conference, and on Thursday they host Washington State (13-5, 3-3), which relies on the Pac-10’s leading scorer, Klay Thompson, who had 27 against Stanford after being held under 20 points in his previous four Pac-10 games.
Arizona (9-9, 3-3) and Arizona State (14-5, 4-2) meet on Saturday in Tempe. The Sun Devils have won four straight as Ty Abbott has joined Rihards Kuksiks and Derek Glasser as key elements of ASU’s offense. Freshman Derrick Williams has become Arizona’s top scorer and rebounder this season after scoring 20 points in each of the the Wildcats’ past two games, the latter a victory over Oregon.
(See story on Thursday’s women’s Pac-10 action here.)
For more Bay Area college football and basketball, see JakesTakeOnSports.
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