Stanford (4-1) vs. Houston (5-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 25, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (18,103) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Stanford 3-1, Houston 4-0. Away Record: Stanford 1-0, Houston 1-0. Neutral Record: Stanford 0-0, Houston 0-0. Conference Record: Stanford 0-0, Houston 0-0. Series Record: Houston leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: As part of the championship round of the Legends Classic, the Stanford Cardinal and the Houston Cougars square off at the Barclays Center on Monday night.
The winner will move to the championship game on Tuesday night against either Pittsburgh or Texas Tech, while the losers will also tangle in a consolation matchup.
In the preliminary round of the event last Thursday, Stanford claimed a convincing 97-71 triumph over Texas Southern for its third straight victory. The Cardinal are sitting with a strong 4-1 record, with their only setback coming in a shootout at home versus BYU on Nov. 11, 112-103.
Houston is actually off to an even better start, as it has won its first five games for the second consecutive year. The Cougars were also successful in the preliminary rounds of this tournament, as they easily defeated both Lehigh (80-66) and Howard (75-62) on their home floor last week.
Houston has beaten Stanford in two of three previous meetings, although the Cardinal won the most recent matchup during the 1990-91 season, 93-86.
Stanford had arguably its best all-around performance in the 26-point victory over Texas Southern, as it shot 47.4 percent from the field compared to 35.4 percent for its foe, and dominated the rebounding battle, 51-32. Pacing five players in double figures was Anthony Brown, who scored a career-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Josh Huestis tallied 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks, Chasson Randle netted 15 points, and Dwight Powell (11 points, eight rebounds) and Aaron Bright (12 points, six rebounds) combined to hand out 11 assists.
The Cardinal have been solid from the floor this season, making good on 47.2 percent of their field goal attempts (including 41.2 percent from beyond the arc) for 81.8 points per game. Randle (21.8 ppg) is expected to be one of the Pac-12's top scorers, while Brown (15.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Powell (14.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and Huestis (11.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg) have all played well in the paint.
The Cougars were involved with a tight battle against Howard the last time out until a 13-2 run early in the second half allowed for some separation down the stretch. Despite shooting less than 40 percent from the field, they were led by some outstanding individual performances, including Daniel House's 23- point, nine-rebound effort. Jherrod Stiggers finished with 16 points behind a 3-of-6 showing from 3-point range, TaShawn Thomas stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks, while L.J. Rose pitched in with 10 points and five assists.
Houston's strong start to the season has come as a result of it shooting 49.3 percent from the field, resulting in 77.6 points per game while allowing just 65.0 points per contest. House (17.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Thomas (16.8 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 4.4 bpg) make up one of the better inside-outside duos in the American Athletic Conference. Rose (12.2 ppg, 5.6 apg) and Stiggers (10.3 ppg) are integral pieces to the puzzle as well.
These are two evenly-matched teams that play well at both ends of the court and possess ample playmakers along their respective benches. Stanford has been more efficient from 3-point range, which figures to be the difference in what is sure to be a tight bout from start to finish.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 72, Houston 70
11/25 10:33:13 ET