By Brad Berreman @bradberreman24 on March 26, 2014
The Stanford Cardinal made it into the 2014 NCAA Tournament as a No. 10 seed, and after two narrow victories over New Mexico and Kansas they are in the Sweet 16.
Here are five players who must come through for Stanford to put an end to No. 11 seed Dayton’s Cinderella run on Thursday night.
Nastic has scored 10 points in both of Stanford’s NCAA Tournament games, while going a combined 9-for-11 from the floor. I don’t expect his numbers to jump off the stat sheet against Dayton, but Nastic’s offensive efficiency will be important for the Cardinal.
After struggling against New Mexico (0-for-8 from the floor), Powell had a team-high 15 points along with seven rebounds against Kansas. Since Stanford lacks offensive firepower (59 points per game in two NCAA Tournament games), Powell will need to stay out of foul trouble against Dayton.
Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins had a dismal game against Stanford last Sunday (four points; 1-for-6 from the floor, four turnovers) with Huestis spearheading that defensive effort. In what is sure to be a closely contested game, Huestis will again be an important player for the Cardinal Thursday night.
Stanford went 0-for-9 from three-point range against Kansas, and Dayton’s first two NCAA tournament opponents have gone a combined 3-for-22 from beyond the arc. Brown went 3-or-3 from beyond the arc against New Mexico in the Round of 64, after making just over 44 percent of his three-pointers during the regular season, so his ability as a perimeter marksman will be crucial for Stanford on Thursday night.
Randle is averaging 18 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in two tournament games, and as Stanford’s leading scorer (18.7 points per game) during the regular season his offense will be vital to any effort to stave off an upset bid.
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