Stanford enters Thursday night’s game at 10-8 overall with a 2-4 conference record. They play an Oregon State team that is absolutely terrible and that is about as respectful as it gets. They are 4-14 with their best win coming against Prairie View A&M or Kent State and their last win was before Christmas. They are pretty good at being bad but this isn’t about tonight’s game as much as it is for the rest of the season for the Cardinal.
Mediocrity has summed up Stanford for the better portion of this decade and while a new coach needs time to adjust, this year feels no different than most have for the better part of the 2010’s. Stanford should go into its game on Saturday 11-8 with a chance to not only improve its conference record to .500 but improve its RPI as they currently sit at 56 which is again borderline for the NCAA Tournament. The problem with that game Saturday is it’s on the road, against a national championship contender in Oregon, and Stanford has yet to look competitive against a ranked team.
Before you can look at yourself as a national contender which is something Stanford hasn’t looked like since 2008, you have to gain traction in your own conference. As of right now, Stanford is in 8th place in conference and is 7th in RPI rankings and other than Cal who is only two spots higher, Stanford is not close to the next highest ranked team which would be USC at 28. Stanford has a long way to go before competing with the good teams in conference let alone conference powers like Oregon, Arizona, and UCLA. So what does Stanford need to do to show progress on the hardwood?
The first step is stepping on Oregon State early and showing they have a killer instinct; you can’t kill a wolf if you can’t even kill a lowly sheep. After Oregon State, Stanford has 11 more games. They play Oregon twice, Utah twice, Cal twice, and Arizona once more on the road. Those teams are a combined 58-14. Stanford needs to not only look competitive but win 2 of those games.
The “Maples Magic” has been gone for some time and the only way to bring that back is win games and do it against good teams. If Stanford can finish the year with 17 wins or more, that would be a huge boost for the 2017-18 year and even if they aren’t able to make a NCAA tourney bid this year, it gives hope that the process is going in the right direction for Haase and company.
**Editor’s note - We could use some help covering Stanford Men’s and Women’s Basketball.**
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