Treemendous Upset: No. 10 Stanford Cardinal Shock No. 2 Kansas

Treemendous Upset: No. 10 Stanford Cardinal Shock No. 2 Kansas

No. 10 Stanford is still dancing, though not yet in the spirit of Mark “Mad Dog” Madsen during the Cardinal’s improbable Final Four run in 1998.

The Cardinal upset a more talented No. 2 Kansas squad, with highly touted freshman Andrew Wiggins, in a Round of 32 battle in St. Louis on Sunday. Conner Frankamp, who kept hope alive for Kansas with a flurry of threes, came up short on a game-tying three-point attempt as time expired as the small Stanford contingent–and the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band–that made it to St. Louis went berserk celebrating the 60-57 win. 

The Cardinal will face the Dayton Flyers, the No.11 seed who upset No. 3 Syracuse on Saturday, in a Sweet 16 battle on Thursday. This is Stanford’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2008, and coach Johnny Dawkins earned his first two NCAA tournament wins of his career this week.  

Kansas was playing without star center Joel Embiid, but instituted a game plan as if he were playing. Though Stanford does not have a true point guard and has struggled with the press all season, Kansas never put sustained pressure on the Cardinal until the last four minutes of the game–and Stanford almost gave the game away because they could not handle the press. 

Stanford’s experience and size were too much for Kansas in the end. Their zone stymied Kansas on offense and perplexed Andrew Wiggins, who scored only four points and could get off only six shots. Stanford’s high-post offense gave Kansas fits, with Dwight Powell scoring 15 despite being in foul trouble for much of the game. Chasson Randle had 13 points, four assists, and six steals for Stanford in a gritty effort in front of a highly-partisan Kansas crowd in St. Louis. 

After the game, Randle said that when Kansas players disrespected him it provided the team with a “little extra motivation.” Before the game, Wiggins and Wayne Selden giggled when a reporter asked them what game plan Kansas would use to stop Randle, Stanford’s leading scorer. Kansas’ game plan during the game showed that the players and coaches may have actually not been prepared for Stanford, for they played into the Cardinal’s strength for much of the game and failed to exploit their obvious weaknesses, especially in the transition game. 

“It wasn’t just a stab at me,” Randle said. “It was a stab at our team.”