The Stanford Cardinal have been down a bit in recent years since the departure of the Lopez twins, but they had a fine season in 2012 and are looking strong for 2013. With most of their roster returning and a few solid recruits set to arrive in Palo Alto in the coming months, there is plenty of reason for Cardinal fans to get excited.
A return to the NCAA Tournament could be in the Cards -- pun completely intended -- next season. The guys at Yahoo! Sports released a list of teams that could be primed for a breakout campaign. We have their blurb on Stanford after the jump.
Why it will be in the NCAA tourney next season: The Cardinal return five of its top six scorers from a team that caught fire late, and the backcourt of Chasson Randle and Aaron Bright is a good one. Both are solid 3-point threats. F Josh Owens will be missed, but four-star freshman F Rosco Allen, the No. 73 player in the recruiting class, could prove an able replacement. Free throw shooting must get better. The Pac-12 should be greatly improved next season, but the Cardinal has the talent to challenge for a top-four finish.
As the blurb states above, the conference could be pretty tough next season following a dismal year in 2012, and the Cardinal will definitely get some consideration to win it all. Arizona and UCLA will be young and inexperienced, meaning Stanford could really use their experience to their advantage in conference play.
For more on the team, check out Rule of Tree.