NIT Tournament 2012: Stanford Battles Massachusetts

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Head coach Johnny Dawkins of the Stanford Cardinal talks with Chasson Randle #5 of the Stanford Cardinal against the Syracuse Orange at the 2011 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden on November 25, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The Stanford Cardinal youth movement is going to be tough to deal with going forward for the Pac-12, but the UMass Minutemen should be a worthy foe. While Stanford's offense has been lighting things up in the NIT Tournament, they might have found a defense quite capable of locking them down.

Stanford and Massachusetts are both strong offensive rebounding squads. Sean Carter, Raphiael Putney and Cady Lalanne will have to battle Josh Owens, Josh Huestis, Andrew Zimmermann and Dwight Powell on the boards. Stanford looks like the deeper squad regarding forwards, but UMass should be able to hold out depthwise.

The Stanford three point offense is their most potent attack; when Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright managed to light it up from the outside. Chaz Williams is the only small guard UMass has on their roster who will probably match up with Bright, but Jesse Morgan might have the size to counter and keep Randle in front of him on the three point line.

But it's most likely defense will end up ruling the day. Stanford has one of the best defenses in the country, but UMass has one of the best three point defenses out there, and the Minutemen have the potential to shut down Stanford's three point ability. However, Stanford has the best Pac-12 defense, and they should be able to use their strong overall defensive rebounding and shooting to keep the Minutemen at bay.

Expect a closely contested matchup here. Just don't expect the points to fly.

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