March Madness: 5 Reasons Why Stanford Will Survive the Sweet 16

5 Reasons Why Stanford Will Survive the Sweet 16

Stanford Huddle Practice NCAA Tournament
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Stanford has gone on an incredible run, outplaying New Mexico and Kansas to earn a Sweet 16 meeting with the lone Cinderella team left in the field -- Dayton. Though Stanford comes from a power conference, their last appearance in the Sweet 16 was in 2008. Both evenly matched teams have never faced each other in either program’s history. Come tip off, Stanford will walk away to await Florida or UCLA in the Elite Eight for these five reasons.

5. Big Men

Jamari Traylor Justin Juestis Stanford Kansas
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

5. Big Men

Jamari Traylor Justin Juestis Stanford Kansas
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Huestis’ height (6-foot-7) gave Andrew Wiggins a hard time to find the shots he normally gets, and combined with his defense, Wiggins was held to only four points. Dwight Powell (6-foot-10) led all scorers with 15 points, and points were easier to come by since Kansas’ Joel Embiid was out. No one on Dayton can match up well with Huestis or Powell, so that leaves Dayton living and dying by the three.

4. Defense Wins Championships

Anthony Brown Tarik Black Stanford Loose Ball
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

4. Defense Wins Championships

Anthony Brown Tarik Black Stanford Loose Ball
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford's defense has been able to keep their margin of victory close throughout the entire NCAA Tournament. In their first game against New Mexico, they held the Lobos to 36.5 percent shooting from the field. Once Stanford jumped to an early lead, there was no heart or comeback left in New Mexico. In the round of 32, Kansas didn’t fare any better with a 32.8 field goal percentage. The length and athleticism is helping Stanford win games.

3. Chasson Randle

Chasson Randle scoring Kansas NCAA Tournament
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

3. Chasson Randle

Chasson Randle scoring Kansas NCAA Tournament
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The leading scorer on Stanford’s roster is going to be huge against Dayton because he averages 39.7 percent from three-point range and 48.5 percent from the field. Dayton’s defense as a whole limited Syracuse to shoot 38.9 percent and didn’t allow a three-point attempt. Randle has to break through and put his team on his back. Randle will also be the x-factor on defense to cover the Dayton's guard play.

2. Upperclassmen

Freshmen sensation Kansas Crying
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

2. Upperclassmen

Freshmen sensation Kansas Crying
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason hype focused on the highly touted freshmen around the nation, but some of those same freshmen are sulking and maybe looking forward to the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft. While that might be true, Stanford’s four starters have started games for four years. They’re mature and play like a team that wants to win now rather than focus on a resume for the professional level.

1. The Magic of the Stanford Band

Stanford Band Shirtless Guy
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Magic of the Stanford Band

Stanford Band Shirtless Guy
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

This is March Madness, and Stanford as a slight three-point favorite isn’t much an advantage. But what might work (or has been working so far) is the magic of the Stanford band propelled by the rumors of booze being sneaked into the arena via tuba. Though the rumor has been dispelled, crazy cowbell guy might have more tricks to get Stanford into the Elite Eight.

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