UC Davis (1-5) at Stanford (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 15, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Maples Pavilion (7,329) -- Stanford, California. Television: None. Home Record: UC Davis 0-2, Stanford 4-1. Away Record: UC Davis 1-3, Stanford 0-0. Neutral Record: UC Davis 0-0, Stanford 2-2. Conference Record: UC Davis 0-0, Stanford 0-0. Series Record: Stanford leads 15-1. .
GAMES NOTES: The Stanford Cardinal wrap up a three-game homestand on Saturday when they host the UC Davis Aggies in non-conference action at Maples Pavilion.
UC Davis has struggled in the early going this season with losses in five of its six games. However all five of those losses have come by single digits. The Aggies have earned their only win on the road with a 87-76 victory over Sacramento State. However, the team enters this game with a three-game losing streak in tow, including a 73-64 setback to San Jose State last time out. UC Davis returns home to face Eastern Washington on Monday before heading to Logan, Utah for a three-game stint in the World Vision Classic.
The Cardinal look to be rounding into shape after posting their third win in four games with a 71-58 win over Denver in game two of this three-game homestand. Stanford knocked off Seattle (68-57) in the other contest and is now sitting at 6-3 overall and a strong 4-1 at home. Stanford's only loss at home came against Belmont (70-62) in mid-November. The Cardinal will have a pair of tough road tests in the next two games against NC State and Northwestern.
In 16 previous meetings, Stanford has come out on top 15 times including three straight. UC Davis' lone victory came during the 2005-06 season when the host Aggies took down Stanford 64-58.
A 9-0 run from San Jose State midway through the second half did in the Aggies last time out. The Aggies shot just 38.6 percent from the field in the game but stayed within striking distance by hitting eight 3-pointers. UC Davis also lost the battle of the boards (42-32) and was outscored 21-7 on points off turnovers. Ryan Sypkens led the way on offense with 18 points.
Despite the slow offensive game the Aggies had against San Jose State, UC Davis has been a rather solid offensive squad. The Aggies are scoring 74.5 points per game, while shooting a healthy 46.9 percent from the field. That has not translated into more victories because of UC Davis' poor defensive showing. Teams are putting in 77.3 points per game, despite shooting just 43.8 percent from the field. Corey Hawkins (20.5 ppg, 3.8 apg) has been an explosive scorer for the Aggies. Sypkens (17.5 ppg) teams with Hawkins in the backcourt to create quite the scoring tandem on the perimeter. JT Adenrele (10.0 ppg) plays just under 20 minutes per game but is the only other player scoring more than eight points per game. Ryan Howley (7.7 ppg, 10.o rpg) is the team's top rebounder.
Stanford ran out to a 35-19 lead at halftime over Denver and coasted in the second half by shooting at a 61.9 percent clip. The Cardinal shot 53.3 percent overall in the game and despite turning the ball over 22 times, won easily in large part to their ability to control the boards with a 33-16 edge in rebounds. Dwight Powell poured in 29 points as the only Stanford player in double figures.
The Cardinal haven't been as high-scoring a team as UC Davis, but they haven't needed to be. Stanford has limited opponents to just 62.2 points per game on a lowly 38.5 field goal percentage. That has been more than enough for Stanford on the offensive end where the Cardinal are scoring 69.3 points per game and shooting just 40.1 percent from the field. Aaron Bright returned to the court for the first time in four games against Denver but played only 15 minutes. Bright was a double-digit scorer last season and someone the Cardinal need back at full speed to really contend. Chasson Randle (!4.7 ppg, 3.1 apg) is still the primary playmaker, but really needs to improve his shooting percentage (36.4) to take the next step. Powell (14.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg) has been a solid option in the frontcourt and has been very effective around the rim, finishing on 53.2 percent of his field goal attempts. Josh Huestis (7.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is the top rebounder on a team that owns a +2.8 edge on the boards.
Getting Bright back to full strength might may take some time, but getting him back on the floor takes pressure off of Randle and makes Stanford a more balance team, especially in the backcourt. Even without Bright the Cardinal would have had little trouble with UC Davis.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 78, UC Davis 64
12/15 10:37:20 ET