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Stanford basketball struggling toward the finish line as tourney time approaches

What's gone wrong with the Cardinal?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When last Thursday rolled around, Valentine's day wasn't exactly all chocolate and roses for Stanford basketball. The Cardinal has officially hit rock bottom in the topsy-turvy season. Stanford has been a team that has had a case of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Syndrome" all season, but as of late, you get Mr. Hyde or Mr. Make Me Puke.

The loss to Colorado was the cherry on top to what has been an abysmal month of basketball. Since a decisive win against UCONN in a packed Maples - where the students and fans were cheering on a team that looked like they would not only make the tournament but could actually be a contender - it's all gone sideways for Stanford.

Since that victory, Stanford has gone 3-5. Even the three wins were hard to watch and the best victory of the group was to a .500 Arizona State team. The other two victories were to the chum buckets of the conference in Washington and USC. I can live with the losses to Arizona and Utah and they have a combined 7 losses this season. Both are in the top-10 and are fighting for a high seed in the tournament. The other 3 losses are pathetic and have turned the basketball program from "Nerd Nation" to "Turd Nation".

Washington State and Colorado are two teams that will not play in a postseason game. Stanford should have been able to beat those teams if they combined their players to make one super-AVERAGE team. The average RPI of both programs is 120. Washington State lost to Idaho earlier in the season. Idaho has a higher RPI than Albert Einstein's IQ. You throw in the DePaul loss from earlier in the year and you've got a Stanford team that has lost to 3 teams with an RPI above 100. That looks absolutely atrocious on your resume come tournament time.

Now it is a team sport but a good team needs a leader. That leader for Stanford is Chasson Randle. Oh wait. It appears Mr. Randle has left the building. Randle was building on a very good Stanford career and was playing like a senior should play. He was scoring at will, playing smart, clutch basketball, and was willing his team to victory. He was (and still is) on the Wooden Award Watch for Player of the Year honors. In some circles, he was getting as much as 2nd-Team All-American watch. But in the last 4 games, Randle is averaging 13 points a game, is shooting 14-52 from the field (26%) and the best 3-point shooter statistically in school history has been 5-30! I don't think Chasson could play that bad if he were shaving points.

Now like always, I'll try to end on a positive note. Somehow Joe Lunardi of ESPN still has the Cardinal in his latest bracketology. Maybe he loves Stanford and is trying to will the voters to get us in. Stanford has a week to shake off the case of the stupid fouls and the billion points left at the free throw line this season to get ready for Cal. A home game against your rival in a must-win game. Randle and Co. better realize showing up on Saturday with their Mr. Hyde personality will have them leaving with a loss, a March Madness berth all but deflated, and a target on Johnny Dawkins back.