I’ve been thinking about it, and I think that Stanford will never get to the championship game as long as the team continues to be the way it is. My current belief, and you can slam me if you want, Minho, but I think that for whatever reason, in the NCAA tournament, having good guards (and small forwards) means way more than having good big men, in particular a center.
Like this year, the Spartans were led by Mateen Cleaves, the point, and Mo Pete, who plays small forward (I think). There’s no real center on the team; no one is even taller than 6-9. Size didn’t really matter, and in retrospect, they were clearly the best team in the tournament. In retrospect.
UConn was a similar team last year. They were led by El-Amin at the point, and Hamilton at forward. When I think about it, I can think of a several great tournament teams that were led by quick guards and small forwards (like Arizona with their incredible guards that year), but I can’t think of any teams that were led by dominant big men. Some talk show was saying how there hasn’t been a dominant big man in a championship game since Patrick Ewing in 1984.
And the great big men that have come out recently, their teams haven’t done well in the tournament. Like Tim Duncan.
Anyway, my feeling right now is that good small men are critical come tournament time, and it’s not as important to have good big men. Again, just in the tournament, for whatever reason.
Stanford hasn’t really had great small men recently, and that’s why we’re not doing well in the tournament. I’m making this all up, of course. But like, we did reasonably well with Brevin Knight and some scrubs, beating Wake Forest at least. And when we made it to the Final Four, it was thanks to clutch guard play (and Mendez). When our guards sucked, we lost.
So until we get some good guards, we’re not going to go anywhere in the tournament. That’s my claim.