The Dartmouth Big Green begins a pre-holiday West Coast road trip with a game at Stanford on Thursday night. The 3-5 Ivy Leaguers also play at Cal and Cal State Bakersfield over their six days on the coast.
Dartmouth Big Green vs. Stanford Cardinal
Thursday, December 16, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Maples Pavilion
Stanford improved to 5-3 with a win over Oregon on Sunday. Tonight's game is a rematch of the 1942 National Championship game, won by the Cardinal. Dartmouth’s last win in the series came in 1938, and its last win over a Pac-12 school came in 1971. The Big Green is 3-21 against the conference.
Rock Fight on One End of the Court
It will be the easily movable object against the stoppable force when Dartmouth has the ball. The Big Green are one of the worst offensive teams in the nation. They rank No. 318 in offensive efficiency, No. 356 at getting to the line and No. 317 shooting inside the three-point arc.
Stanford’s defense hasn’t shown it will be able to take advantage of Dartmouth’s weakness, however. The Cardinal ranks No. 289 in effective shooting defense and No. 314 in two-point shooting defense.
While it sounds like things will look ugly at that end of the court, at least we won’t have to look at it for long. Stanford has a lopsided rebounding edge. Dartmouth is No. 327 in the country in offensive rebounding percentage, while the Cardinal is No. 47 on the defensive boards.
Dartmouth has lost four straight after a 3-1 start that included a win over Georgetown. The last three games have included an overtime loss and back-to-back three-point defeats where Dartmouth missed a potential game-tying three in the closing seconds.
In two of the previous three games, Dartmouth hit a three to send the game to overtime, splitting those games, against Bryant and Florida Gulf Coast. The Green will depend on senior Aaryn Rai who leads an experienced lineup. After averaging 7.3 ppg in the first four games, Rai has averaged 19.8 in the last four.
Grad student Brendan Barry is in the top seven nationally in three-pointers and three-point shooting percentage. He’s the team’s leading scorer on the year. Senior Taurus Samuels gives the Big Green three double-figure scorers, and Garrison Wade rounds out the four senior starters.
Winning the Battle in the Paint
Stanford will try to take advantage of Dartmouth inside. The Cardinal have outrebounded all eight opponents this year and are 19th in the nation in rebounding margin.
Stanford is led by its two forwards. Freshman Harrison Ingram leads the Cardinal in scoring (12.5 ppg), rebounding (6.9) and assists (3.6). Jaiden Delaire is the team’s only other double-figure scorer, at 11.4.
That doesn’t mean the Cardinal is a two-man show. Stanford has a deep and versatile roster. Ten different players have scored in double figures in a game this season. Although Delaire is the only player to reach 20, and he did that one time.
Stanford doesn’t have many deep threats. Noah Taitz has hit nearly 60 percent of his three-point attempts in the last five games, but he’s only made 10 shots over that span. No Cardinal is averaging 1.5 made threes a game. That’s good news for Dartmouth, who ranks No. 254 at defending the perimeter.
Stanford is a perfect 5-0 at Maples Pavilion this year, and the Cardinal last lost to an Ivy League team in 1981. It doesn’t seem likely to happen against Dartmouth on Thursday, either. The Big Green has no answer for defending Ingram, and if they do solve that puzzle, Stanford has too many other options on offense to turn to.
Dartmouth’s offense also doesn’t seem up to the task of matching the Cardinal. The big line should make this one interesting for our NCAAB pick, but the Cardinal should cover eventually.
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