On Monday, Stanford Athletics published the following video in anticipation of #1 Arizona’s visit to Maples.
It has been viewed more than 4,800 times and includes 15 dunks on the lonely Wildcat and one milk-carton smash. The title includes #TreeDunk and that is what most caught my eye. Because there really isn’t much to suggest Johnny D’s team is dunking. I mean, they have to go to school for it. There’s more.
The Cardinal get the third lowest percentage of shots at the rim (32.9%) in the Pac-12 which is good for 285th in the country. That’s very little time around the tin despite being the ninth tallest team in the country! That’s right, the average height of a 2013-14 Stanford Cardinal is 78.4 inches and they never dunk.
But maybe the Cardinal, despite taking so few shots in the success zone (should we call it that moving forward?), make a ton of ’em? Nope. They’re just very un-Stanford which is to say: average (whomp, whomp). The D-1 average FG% at the rim is 60.9%. The Card sink 60.6% of ’em – fourth lowest percentage in the Pac-12.
Furthermore the Wildcats are the stingiest rim defense in all of America. Just 17.8% of shots against the Sean Miller Monsters come in the ‘success zone.’ It’s near impossible to put your hands on whichever basket Arizona is defending. Ugh, sure they yield an insanely high FG% up there (69.1% the 10th highest FG% at the rim nationally). But getting to the rim against the Wildcats is so difficult it’s like winning the Hunger Games: you’re gonna get rewarded. In NCAA-terms it’s an easy basket. In Peeta Mellark-terms it’s at least a few make outs with Katniss. Winning.
But maybe Stanford already knew all of the above. The video calls for #TheyWontKnowWhatHitThem which would be about right if dunks ensue. They could abandon their affinity for the 2pt jumper (38.8% of total shots at a 43.2% FG% ranking 25th and 6th, respectively) as Arizona’s defense is built to force this shot (54.3% at a 30.7% clip, 1st and 45th). We dissecting similar prior to the UCLA-Arizona game, and how’d that work out? Defense prevailed. So yes, should Maples Dunk City arrive, #TheyWontKnowWhatHitThem and I imagine no one else would either.
I don’t see a floppy tree throwing many basketballs down on Wildcats any time soon.