Stanford (4-2) vs. Minnesota (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Imperial Arena (4,500) -- Paradise Island, Bahamas. Television: None. Home Record: Stanford 2-1, Minnesota 4-0. Away Record: Stanford 0-0, Minnesota 0-0. Neutral Record: Stanford 2-1, Minnesota 1-1. Conference Record: Stanford 0-0, Minnesota 0-0. Series Record: Minnesota leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Stanford Cardinal and the Minnesota Golden Gophers will wrap up their stay in the Bahamas on Saturday afternoon when the two face off in the fifth-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Stanford opened the season strong at 3-1 prior to making the trip to Paradise Island. It fought hard against nationally-ranked Missouri in the opening round, but ultimately fell, 78-70, to drop into the consolation bracket. The Cardinal bounced back against Northern Iowa on Friday by winning handily, 66-50.
Minnesota started the season on a four-game homestand and came out the other side with a perfect record, but it had the unfortunate task of facing the fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils in the opening round, and it went on to lose, 89-71. The Gophers faced another nationally-ranked squad on Friday in the Memphis Tigers, this time coming out on the winning side of things, 84-75.
The two teams met in the championship game of last year's NIT, with Stanford coming away with a convincing 75-51 victory, but Minnesota had won all four previous matchups in the all-time series.
The Cardinal was spearheaded in Friday's win by a great defensive effort, allowing UNI to shoot just 36.2 percent from the floor in giving up a season- low 50 points. It was a good thing they tightened up on the defensive end of the floor, because the shooting effort was spotty at best, draining just 40 percent of their field goals on the afternoon. Chasson Randle put together a great all-around game, connecting on four three-pointers en route to a team- high 21 points while also adding six assists, five rebounds, and three steals. Andy Brown provided a spark off the bench with 15 points on 7-of-12 from the field. On the season, Randle is Stanford's leading scorer with 15.8 ppg, but he's making less than 40 percent of his field goal attempts, which is right in line with the rest of the team (.401). Dwight Powell (11.5 ppg) is another consistent source of points, and Josh Huestis (9.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg) is a solid presence in the low post.
Minnesota enjoyed much more offensive success than the Cardinal in the last round thanks in large part to a career-game from Andre Hollins, who tallied 41 points while shooting lights out from the floor (12-of-16), the three-point line (5-of-5) and the free-throw line (12-of-13). The huge performance allowed the Gophers to shoot better than 50 percent from the field and they held on to a single-digit lead throughout the second half. Hollins is now the team's leading scorer on the season with 15.0 ppg, although his shooting percentage still leaves much to be desired (.406). He's been great at getting his teammates involved, dishing out 4.3 apg. Rodney Williams was the only other Minnesota player to tally double digits in its latest win with 13 points, as he continues to be a consistent source of points as well (14.5 ppg). Austin Hollins rounds out the team's double-digit scorers, putting up 12.0 ppg.
With Randle and Andre Hollins going head-to-head in this one, both teams can have faith that their stars can lead them to victory. Beyond those two, Minnesota has shown to have more scoring depth in the early going this season, giving it a slight advantage to take down the Cardinal.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Minnesota 75, Stanford 70
11/24 10:33:33 ET