Commentary

Cardinal shut down Wiggins, Kansas

Updated: March 24, 2014, 4:12 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

It has been a rough stretch for high seeds in the NCAA tournament. Duke, Syracuse and now Kansas have all gone down, as the Jayhawks were stunned by Stanford on Sunday in St. Louis.

Give Johnny Dawkins and the Cardinal a lot of credit for doing a great job defensively. Stanford's rotating zone really bothered the Jayhawks, and Andrew Wiggins, who should go in the top three of the NBA draft (assuming he comes out), was held to four points on 1-of-6 shooting.

The Cardinal moved to the Sweet 16 thanks to defense. They held Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk of New Mexico in check in the round of 32, then shut down Wiggins on Sunday. They held both the Lobos and the Jayhawks to fewer than 60 points.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Wiggins
Scott Rovak/USA TODAY SportsStanford held Andrew Wiggins to four points on 1-for-6 shooting.

Stanford really did a terrific job of controlling the tempo of Sunday's game, patiently running its sets on offense. Kansas tried to press to speed up the game, but it did not work often enough. Kansas was also unable to get enough baskets in transition.

Dwight Powell was outstanding inside, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven boards despite foul trouble.

The size of Stanford also hurt Kansas, as the 6-foot-10 Powell, 6-11 Stefan Nastic, 6-7 Josh Huestis, 6-6 Anthony Brown and 6-10 John Gage cut off penetration, forcing Wiggins to stay outside.

The game was tied at 49 when Huestis and Powell made baskets. Stanford never trailed after that.

Freshman Conner Frankamp tried to keep Kansas in the game, hitting a couple of late trifectas. He was the lone consistent threat on the perimeter for the Jayhawks.

Brown hit five free throws in the final 43 seconds to help seal the win.

Stanford lost to UCLA by 25 points in the Pac-12 tournament, but the Cardinal have turned things around in a hurry. Now we have an interesting Sweet 16 matchup between the No. 10-seeded Cardinal and 11th-seeded Dayton.

Come on, how many of you had Dayton and Stanford in the Sweet 16 of your bracket? Be honest!

Both teams have done it with defense so far. Neither has given up 60 points in a contest during the tournament. That trend could easily continue. I like the way that both Archie Miller of Dayton and Johnny Dawkins of Stanford have maximized the talent of their players.

It should be a competitive matchup when they meet Thursday in Memphis.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.

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