Allow me to give some love to the West Coast for a moment. I’m from New York, grew up a Big East fan, live in Lawrence now as a KU season ticket holder, but constantly keep my East Coast bias in check.
I am focusing on what appears to be a first weekend matchup. The Eye Test tells me that Stanford and Washington could very well be 3 and 6 seed showdown in the NCAA Tournament. They played Sunday night. (You were likely reacting to the NFL’s Elite 8). Other West Coast teams like UCLA, UNLV and San Diego State are struggling. I have already profiled how legit Gonzaga and Utah are.
Stanford is a very aggressive bunch. They forced nineteen turnovers against Washington, including 11 steals. The high IQ level of Standford need not be explained. The result could be another upstart run in the NCAA tournament. Chasson Randle just became The Cardinals all-time leader in three-pointers made. I think he is an underrated point guard in the national scene. Stanford turned the ball only nine times as they defeated Washington in an overtime game. Shooting guard Anthony Brown has arrived in his senior season. He is completing that one-two punch in the scoring column. (Brown’s offensive production was also vital in its win against Texas). I also love Stefan Nastic, a center who takes a lot of pride on the defensive end. Nastic was instrumental when Stanford beat Andrew Wiggins and the Kansas Jaywaks in last year’s first weekend. The guy reminds me of a college basketball version of Marcin Gortat of the NBA. He will never wow you with his post-move arsenal or above-the-rim athleticism. Nastic will battle with your big man and do the cliche “little things” it takes to win.
Washington, meanwhile, also has a lot of players peculating at the right time. Robert Upshaw is the nation’s best shot-blocker. Shawn Kemp Jr. has a role as a second, third, or fourth scorer that he seems comfortable with (he led the Huskies in scoring this game–an anomaly when considering the season trend). Andrew Andrews and Nigel Williams-Goss are a great backcourt because they can clearly create their own shots when its necessary. Coach Lorenzo Romar always has his teams well-prepared if and when they make the big dance. Washington had this game won against Stanford before letting Chasson Randle get to the rim for a layup on the final possession. The Huskies won 68-60 in overtime.