Since Colorado tried their hardest to lose at Stanford, not much has really changed between the two teams. Stanford still might be the 10th or 11th best team in the conference, depending on how you feel about Washington State and Arizona State*.
In the following five contests, the Cardinal have alternated wins and losses and -- if my probability class taught me anything -- they're due for a loss tonight. As for those five games, Stanford had themselves a delightful road win in Corvallis as they overcame yet another outstanding performance from Gary Payton II to win by 6. Four days later, Oregon's Dillon Brooks nearly got a triple-double as he became just the most recent Duck to lead them to victory. Four days after that, the Cardinal got their offense rolling early and picked up an impressive 77-71 home win over Cal. And over their homestand this past weekend, Stanford was blown out by Arizona before eking out a win over Arizona State.
*Arizona State being at the bottom of the conference only shows how much parity there is in the Pac-12 this season.
Staying consistent to form, Stanford's defense is still getting trashed by guards. In addition to the aforementioned excellence from Payton II and Brooks, at least one guard has put up 17+ points against them in those five games. In that same time span, only one Cardinal guard has had a defensive rating below 100 (lower is better) in any one game. For a frame of reference, Josh Fortune and Xavier Talton's season figures are 100 and 101, respectively, and neither of whom have a strong defensive reputation.
So maybe Josh Fortune will have a great game like he did last time against Stanford?
Hello reader, we here at the Ralphie Report joke around a lot. In all seriousness, though, we absolutely hate having fun writing here. Jon threatens us every time he has to edit out one of our jokes. That's why Trevor left.
Anyhow, without a guard who can take over a game at will (there's still hope for Dom Collier), the Buffs are unlikely to take full advantage of this glaring weakness, but it's still somewhat exploitable. The reasons Stanford can't guard guards (a team-wide lack of lateral quickness, an over-aggressive defensive system that leaves their perimeter defense exposed, etc.) will make it much easier to feed Josh Scott and Wesley Gordon in the post. From there, the two could easily capitalize on Stanford's lack of interior defense (which is another reason guards fill it up on them).
From the previous Stanford preview:
Their best defender is center Michael Humphrey, but he can rack up fouls in no time at all. After Humphrey, Stanford would have to rely on offensive-minded Reid Travis and the seldom used 7-footer Josh Sharma. To put it nicely, Scott [and Gordon] would devour those two in a matter of seconds. So, uh, Humphrey might want to keep out of foul trouble. Against Scott, that's a lot easier said than done.
Yep, still applies.
On the other side of the court, Stanford will be relying on three former top-100 prospects in Humphrey (No. 65, class of 2014), Rosco Allen (66, ‘12) and Travis (27, ‘14). Their oversized frontcourt isn't particularly great at defense, but of each of those three brings their own unique, yet complementary, offensive games to form a well-rounded attack. Scott and Gordon's continued defensive prowess should slow Stanford's most promising offensive gameplan. Still, Colorado could really use a solid defensive showing from one of the King-Fletcher platoon because if the Buffs were to shut down all three Cardinal bigs and their offense is thereby run through the inconsistent Marcus Allen, this game could be over by halftime.
In conclusion, does it bother anyone else that Stanford can have three Allens (Malcolm is the other) on the court at a time? Having one is great; I have an Alan in my name and look how I turned out. Two Alan/Allens is even better, just watch Galaxy Quest. But three? What are you trying to pull on us, Stanford?
Related: How rad would it be to have three Xaviers on the court? That includes Patrick Stewart sitting courtside, for the record.
Colorado 81, Stanford 66