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Pac-12 Conference Basketball Preview: Arizona at Stanford

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Stanford is an extremely well-balanced team on both ends of the floor, and the Cardinal have a legitimate chance of pulling the outright upset tonight before the home faithful. Stanford is averaging 73.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 66.9 points per game to a mediocre offensive squad, thereby making the Cardinal 6.2 points per game better than average offensively.

Stanford is converting at a high rate from beyond the arc, with its 40.2% clip ranking second in the Pac-12 Conference and 15th in the nation. Chasson Randle has connected on a team-best 46 three-pointers while Anthony Brown is shooting 46.3% (37-80). Randle is a legitimate candidate for Pac-12 Player of the Year honors and is the school’s first All-America honor since Brook Lopez in 2008. Randle leads the team in scoring with 19.8 points per game, while Brown is second with 15.4 points per game.

Stanford’s frontcourt has improved dramatically behind center Stefan Nastic, whose transformation commenced at the end of last season where he shot 85.3% from the field over his final eight games and 77.8% during the NCAA Tournament.  Nastic’s performance at the end of last year has carried over to this season where he is averaging 13.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Nastic has reached double-digits in all but one game and leads the team with 23 blocks.

I also like the fact that Stanford takes excellent care of the ball as the Cardinal are averaging only 10.5 turnovers per game, which leads the Pac-12 Conference and ranks 15th-best in the nation. The Cardinal also possess a very good defense that is allowing 63.6 points per game on 40.8% shooting from the floor to teams that would combine to average 69.3 points per game against a mediocre defensive squad. More importantly, the Cardinal are a perfect 9-0 at home this season where they are limiting opponents to just 54.9 points per game on 38.3% shooting from the field.

Overall, Arizona possesses a 4.2 points per game advantage offensively in this contest.  However, that projection is not entirely accurate in light of the fact that Arizona is 2-5 ATS on the road this season where the Wildcats are averaging just 66.9 points per game, which is 7.4 points per game below their season output. Meanwhile, Stanford is undefeated at home where the Cardinals are 8.7 points per game better than their overall defensive numbers.

Speaking of home court, Stanford is 85-27 at Maples Pavilion under head coach Johnny Dawkins. Stanford’s home success is bad news for an Arizona squad that is 1-5 ATS in its last six road games versus teams with a winning home record. Conversely, Stanford is 4-0 ATS in its last four games versus .601 or greater opposition and 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games following a win.

Grab the generous points with Stanford and invest with confidence.

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