It's been more than a decade now since the Stanford Cardinal men's basketball team was a dominant force on the national scene, and that showed in the 2016-2017 season. After making 11 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1995-2005, including a Final Four appearance in 1998, the Cardinal have been to March Madness just three times since that stretch. This year was more of the same from Stanford, as first-year coach Jerod Haase and his squad couldn't break the .500 mark overall for the season, and it will take a streak of upsets in the Pac-12 Tournament this week in Las Vegas to change that reality for the Cardinal.
Regular season stats: 69.1 points per game scoring (274th of 351 NCAA Division I schools), 70.2 points per game allowed (124th of 351)
Conference record: 6-12 (T9th place)
Overall record: 14-16, .467 winning percentage (220th of 351)
Home record: 10-5
Road record: 1-10
Best win: While any win over rival California is a good one, the Cardinal's 73-68 victory over the Golden Bears on February 17 at home wasn't the best effort for Stanford this year. Way back in November, the Cardinal knocked off Seton Hall, 66-52, on a neutral court in Orlando, as part of the 2016 AdvoCare Invitational. At the time, it gave Stanford a 6-1 record, and all looked good for the Cardinal. The Stanford roster was a combined 16-for-17 from the free-throw line in that win, as the Cardinal broke a halftime tie with a second-half surge that gave big hope to the Stanford fan base.
Worst loss: None of the Cardinal's 16 losses this year were truly bad. Stanford lost to a lot of good teams this year, but the home loss to Bay Area "rival" St. Mary's College by 15 points was embarrassing. The Gaels have a good program; everyone knows that. But to lose at home in front of the alumni and fans to a "smaller" school by such a margin was a bit crushing. St. Mary's cruised to a 66-51 win at Maples Pavilion on November 30, the next game after the Seton Hall victory noted above. That kind of inconsistency plagued Stanford all season long.
Best Player: Junior forward Reid Travis played in only 26 games this year, and he didn't even average 30 minutes a game. Imagine the Stanford season if Travis could have played all 30 games while adding a few more minutes of game time in each contest. His numbers (17.2 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game) would have been even better, and the Cardinal might have won one or two of those six games this season lost by single digits. However, all of Travis' efforts were an improvement from his sophomore year, when he played in just eight games.
Pac-12 Tournament outlook: Stanford takes on Arizona State in the first game of the tournament on Wednesday afternoon. The Cardinal are the ninth seed, and the Sun Devils are the eighth seed. ASU swept Stanford this season, winning both games against Stanford by a combined 11 points. That means this game could go either way, really, and with neither team really having a shot at postseason play unless they win the Pac-12 tourney, both teams will play with nothing to lose. Look for a shootout to ensue, much like the Sun Devils' 98-93 win over the Cardinal on December 30 at Maples.
Tickets to Session 1, featuring the Arizona State-Stanford and California-Oregon State games on Wednesday afternoon, can be purchased here.