Mar 29, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Stanford Cardinal celebrate their win at the final round of the NIT against the Minnesota Golden Gophers held at Madison Square Garden. Stanford won 75-51. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE
Throughout the NIT, the Stanford Cardinal looked like the best squad in the mix because of their defense. Guess how they won it all on Thursday night. Of the four factors, Stanford won three while drawing on the other.
Minnesota was held to 37.3% shooting, with about 23.1% three pointers made. Stanford made 50% of their shots and nearly half of their threes. The guards were totally outclassed, as Andre Hollins shot 1-5, Julian Welch 2-11. Stanford's guards made over 50% of their shots, as Chasson Randle went 6-11, Aaron Bright 4-7.
- Minnesota turned the ball over 22 times, with the Gophers getting stifled on the inside. Jarret Mann, Andrew Zimmerman, Dwight Powell all managed three steals each.
- Minnesota was outrebounded 38-29, including on the offensive glass 11-9 (where they generally have been the superior squad). Anthony Brown, Andrew Zimmerman, Josh Huestis hauled in six boards each, Powell five, Bright, Owens, and Mann grabbed three.
- Minnesota's biggest advantage was getting to the free throw line, but as they tend to do, they whiffed on too many of them, hitting only 10 of 17 freebies (compared to 11 of 15 for Stanford).
The Cardinal had the most consistent eight rotation players that stepped up over and over throughout the past five games, and that's why they stand last. Such ends a solid season where they saw their seniors step up every now and then, but also saw the youngsters grow into their own. If those youngsters can keep on playing well, the Cardinal can become one dangerous team down the line.
The NIT title will suffice for this year.
*The seventh best Pac-12 team equates to being the 69th best team in the country. So it seems like the Selection Committee came up about four bids short for the Pac-12 here.