Not since their opening round win in the Puerto Rico Shootout a dozen years ago, has the Stanford men’s basketball team won a game on Thanksgiving Day. They handled Old Dominion 84-60 that day.
And today, the Cardinal return to the Caribbean. But No. 13 Missouri isn’t Old Dominion.
Stanford will tip-off the first round of the second annual Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament from Paradise Islands in the Bahamas against the 3-0 Tigers. The winner of the game will face the winner between No. 2 Louisville and Northern Iowa. If the Cardinal prevail beyond the semis, they’ll encounter either No. 19 Memphis, No. 5 Duke, VCU or Minnesota.
The Cardinal enter the eight-team, three-day lavish tourney sporting a 3-1 record, last losing to Belmont 70-62 on Sunday. They and VCU are the only teams in the tourney who have losses.
Former Blue Devils All-American Johnny Dawkins, entering his fifth coaching season with Stanford, led the Cardinal to an NIT title last season against Minnesota.
But if the Cardinal are to have such lofty hopes of beating some of the best teams in the college game this week, they’ll likely have to improve from beyond the arc. Thus far, Stanford is hitting on just 23.1 percent of its 3-point attempts. On the contrary, Missouri is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range.
Today’s game will be Stanford’s first Thanksgiving Day contest since 2010, and their last preseason tournament title came in 2007 at the Basketball Travelers Classic.