I first watched this Stanford team last year, in a game with Washington State. I was watching Washington State because I was in love with Derrick Low. I forget, now, why I first watched Wazzu - I think it was when they were playing Vanderbilt. Whatever reason, they quickly became one of my favorite teams. And, later, Stanford became another.
I like teams because of their players, mostly, with a few exceptions. I like Virginia Tech because of Deron Washington. I like Stanford because of the Lopez twins. And, at first, I liked Washington State because of Derrick Low. But then I watched them play, and became engrossed with the team as a whole. Kyle Weaver. Robbie Cowgill. Taylor Rochestie. Their coach, Tony Bennet. The little backup point that looks like Snoop from The Wire. Even big, foul-y Aron Baynes. My Gator Boys were still playing, so they weren't my favorite team, but they were close. And now that they're gone, Wazzu has taken their place, as my emotional favorite team, if not the one I'd always root for.
But I can't underplay how much I dig Stanford, either. I was taken with Brook and Robin - not what they looked like, or how they played, at least not at first, but by their very existence. Seven foot tall Puerto Rican twins with girls' names? How awesome is that? But then I realized that they, and Derrick Low, were being hyped all over the place. So I figured I might as well check out how they played. And, well, damn. They deserved the hype.
Right now, though, Washington State is playing Stanford, and Stanford just cut the lead from 13 to 2. They are, of course, doing so on the backs of Brook and Robin. As far as I can tell, Brook is the stronger of the two, basketball-wise. He has better numbers and plays more minutes. But if I were the coach of Stanford, I'd be really ugly. No, I mean, if I were the coach of Stanford, I'd play them at the same time as often as I could. And not just because I enjoy watching them play volleyball with the basketball - because with that much size, I see no reason why Stanford can't be at least a Sweet Sixteen team. If all you need is size and skill, then Stanford has it in spades, no matter what the rest of the team looks like. And the rest of the team looks pretty good.
On the flip side is Washington State. Wazzu is not a big team. They've got two big white guys, Baynes stiff and Cowgill not, and Kyle Weaver, who is not very big at all. Yet, with Derrick Low doing his best Steve Nash impression, they don't really need the size. What they need is to not be in the PAC-10, because this is some ACC shit right here. As I'm watching them lose, though, I think they also need more mental toughness. Because they missed ten straight field goals in the last seven minutes, and that's just pretty much reprehensible. All that Stanford did to win that game was to play.
And the Gators lost to Mississippi State. Is it tournament time yet?