In advance of Stanford men’s basketball’s pivotal matchup against Utah on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament, The Daily’s Sandip Srinivas chatted with Griffin Adams of The Daily Utah Chronicle, to gain perspective on the Cardinal’s Pac-12 foe.
The Stanford Daily (TSD): In Round 1 of this matchup, Utah clearly had the upper hand with a 75-59 win at home. However, one story about Utah all season has been its difference in play as a home team and a road team. How do you see the neutral site location being a factor, if at all?
Griffin Adams (GA): The neutral site location has to be a concern for Utah. It’s no secret that the Utes have struggled on the road, but a lot of those bad losses came towards the end of the season. For a few games now, this team has looked bored and according to head coach Larry Krystkowiak, the three practices leading to this tournament have been the best they’ve had all season. I expect the Utes to come out with aggression, despite playing away from the Huntsman Center.
TSD: Also apparent in that game was the fact that the storied matchup between talented guards Delon Wright and Chasson Randle went Wright’s way. With Randle coming off a clutch three to put Stanford over Washington, it’s easy to think he’ll come into this game with much more edge than Wright who has been resting. How do you see the matchup playing out?
GA: With all respect due to Randle, Wright will always have the upper hand in this matchup. Wright is the best player in the Pac-12, even if the coaches didn’t vote him the conference POY. Randle is a great scorer, but Wright is a better defender. And while Randle did hit that game-winning shot, the rest of this game was disappointing to say the least. I expect Randle to get his, as he is a great scorer, but in the end, no one in the tournament can stop Wright, besides Arizona.
TSD: Who is one player to watch for Utah that Stanford fans may not necessarily expect to be a factor?
GA: He’s not necessarily unknown, as he was a second team, All-Pac-12 selection, but Brandon Taylor is absolutely the x-factor for the Utes. Not only does he have the ball in his hands a lot at the guard position, but Taylor has the ability to catch fire quicker than most. If he is left open, Utah fans have come to expect Taylor’s shots to find the bottom of the net. If Taylor has a good game, it’ll be hard for Stanford to retaliate.
TSD: Overall, what does Utah need to do to come out on top on Thursday, and will they be able to do it? Final score prediction?
GA: Ultimately, Utah needs to find a rhythm on offense. In all of their losses this season, the Utes have still played pretty good defense. The problem is when they disrupt the flow on the offensive side of the ball, not moving the ball as much as they should. If Utah can knock down a few three-pointers and keep the rock on the move, it’ll be tough for any team to get past the Utes. Final score – Utah 67, Stanford 58
Contact Sandip Srinivas at sandips ‘at’ stanford.edu.