Stanford had a real chance to upset No. 5 Syracuse on Friday at Madison Square Garden in the preseason NIT Championship. The Cardinal lost 69-63, but was up seven with less than five minutes remaining. Some thoughts The game boiled down to Stanford not being able to handle Syracuses pressure down the stretch. Stanford turned the ball over in the backcourt too often late and rushed its offense when it broke pressure.
Point guard Aaron Bright is Stanfords only true point guard, and hes a little undersized at 5-11. He just wasnt strong enough to get the ball often enough when Stanford needed him to bring the ball up in the last five minutes.AP RECAP: No. 5 Syracuse escapes Stanford 69-63 in preseason NIT Championship
And when Bright wasnt handling, Stanford had nothing to rely on when it came to running its offense. Freshman Chasson Randle is going to be a nice player by the time his Stanford career is over, but hes not really a one. Not now anyway. Randles game is more suited to make plays for himself, and he made a couple late against Syracuse. Josh Owens was hardly a factor after his big game against Oklahoma State. Owens was every bit as athletic as any of Syracuses frontline players, but he was largely missing most of the game. Just floated for too many stretches. Owens went 2-for-8 from the field against Syracuse after a 10-for-12 game against OK State. I keep hearing that Cal is the best of the Bay Areas college teams, and I could see that as being the case. But Stanford has some athletes and a little bit of depth. If the Cardinal gets better over the course of the season, and they should because theyre very young, theyll be able to play with Cal. The one thing Stanford doesnt do well is shoot the 3. Or shoot fouls, for that matter. Other than Bright, Stanfords best 3-point shooter is probably John Gage, who is a 6-foot-9 forwardcenter. Going to check out Cal on Saturday. The Bears play Denver.