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Harvard vs Stanford Men’s Basketball: Breakdown Analysis

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NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hey basketball fans! The college basketball season is upon us, and the Jerod Haase era has begun. Coach Haase has gotten his team off to a good start with a 80-70 victory over Harvard in Shanghai. Junior forward Reid Travis returned from injury, and had a monster game with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Lets take a look at how he got going…

Throughout the game, Stanford looked to impose their will in the paint. Off of the in-bounds pass, Stanford guard Christian Sanders simply dribbles to the opposite wing, and makes a 30 foot pocket pass to Travis in the post. Typically you don’t want to make a pass to the post from that far away or even from that angle, but credit Sanders for seeing that Travis had a great seal on his defender. Travis fails on the first shot attempt, rebounds his own miss, then finishes strong with the put back.

In this next clip we see Stanford push the ball on the break after a turnover. Watch how Travis sprints down the floor calling for the ball. He doesn’t receive it, but doesn’t give up on the play. Once the shot is up in the air Travis finds the open spot to grab the easy rebound. Although he misses the put back, it allows his teammate to grab a rebound and get fouled.

After another Harvard turnover, Stanford pushes the ball past half-court and immediately hits Travis in the post. He does a nice spin move towards the baseline. Unfortunately he misses the shot, but grabs his on board and gets fouled on his put-back attempt. Travis lived at the free-throw line all night with 19 attempts, but only made 10. He easily could have had 30 points in this game.

Harvard seemed to have no answer for Travis on the boards last night. On this missed free-throw, Travis jumps over three Harvard players to grab the rebound and finish the put-back. He also flexes afterwards for good measure.

Now lets take a look at how Stanford was able to have a plus 12 advantage over Harvard in fastbreak points (Stanford 14, Harvard 2). It has been well documented that Coach Haase comes from the Roy Williams coaching tree. It was certainly showcased in this first game as Stanford scored 80 points, and looked for every opportunity to push the pace.

Watch how senior guard Marcus Allen grabs the rebound himself, takes two dribbles and passes ahead to Dorian Pickens, who is sprinting in his lane on the right side of the floor. Pickens sees big man Michael Humphrey sprinting down the middle of the floor, hits him with a beautiful pass and Humphrey finishes the layup. That fastbreak only needed a total of two dribbles, and everyone filled their lanes. Textbook execution.

On this missed free-throw by Harvard, the ball is tapped out to sophomore guard Robert Cartwright who throws a chest pass from the opposite free-throw line to Marcus Allen sprinting down the floor. Allen gets behind the defense like a wide receiver in football, and finishes the layup. Poor transition defense from Harvard, but great vision from Cartwright.

Even on made baskets Stanford was looking to push the ball up the court. Sanders catches the in-bounds pass, sees Humphrey running unguarded down the floor, and hits him with a great pass. Humphrey finishes with a poster for the and one. Once again Harvard falls asleep in transition. In this case it was after a made basket, which is unacceptable even for a young team like Harvard. .

I was very impressed with Stanford’s defense. They held Harvard to 37 percent shooting for the game. I was even more impressed with how they were able to completely neutralize Harvard big man Zena Edosomwan. Edosomwan averaged 13.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last year as a junior. He was held to three points, six rebounds, and had four fouls last night.

In the very first possession of the game Harvard quickly gets into an set that allows Zena a post up opportunity. The ball is passed to the left wing where Zena will sprint to the strong side block and look for a quick post up. The ball is then passed to the top of the key. Zena sets a back screen for the man who just passed it. The ball is swung from the right wing to near the corner. Zena then flashes to the opposite block where he catches it. After his first dribble, Travis leaves his man and swarms Zena with a double team and forces a travel. Great job by Humphrey to hold his ground long enough against a stronger player to allow for a successful double team. Coach Haase made a concerted effort the entire game to not allow Harvard to establish themselves down low.

After a made basket, Harvard looks to get Zena a quick post up out of a simple set. Zena is trailing the play then sprints to the strong side block. He tries to make a quick move by spinning baseline, but Travis is already in great position to double team forcing another travel on Zena.

While Stanford did a great job establishing physicality on both ends of the floor, I am definitely concerned about their ability to space the floor. Stanford dominated points in the paint with a 40 to 26 advantage, but was only 1 for 6 from three-point range. As the season continues this could be a huge problem when they get behind in games. The only three-point shot made from Stanford came from a simple pick and pop action from Christian Sanders and Michael Humphrey.

Stanford faithful should be very pleased with the showing of their men’s basketball team last night. Jerod Haase coached a solid game against a young, talented, and well coached Harvard team. Haase made it clear that he wants his team to establish themselves as a physical team that pushes the pace. It was astonishing to see this team put up 80 points (50 in the second half) with only one three-point shot made. As the season progresses we will see if the lack of range shooting will become an Achilles heel for this team. Stanford’s next game is at home on Tuesday against Cal State Northridge.