This season could turn into one of the most frustrating in recent Stanford men's basketball history.
Even without the services of veteran guards Dorian Pickens and Marcus Sheffield and freshman post Kezie Okpala, the Cardinal still had plenty left to compete in the PK80 Invitational in Portland over the weekend.
Stanford (3-5) has lost four straight heading into Wednesday night's 7 p.m. home game against Montana, another Big Sky Conference member. The Cardinal lost its two previous games to Big Sky teams.
The three teams Stanford has beaten currently have a combined record of 8-12 and all have losing marks. The five losses have been to teams with a combined 23-10 record.
The Cardinal has five games remaining before the Pac-12 Conference season opens. Three are against teams with winning records.
If Stanford men 's basketball wants to trend upward, then it should plan on beating one or two of those teams and the two against teams with losing records.
Stanford outshot the Vikings (5-2) by a wide margin, 51.9 percent to 37.1 percent and outrebounded them, 43-32.
What made the difference? Try Stanford's overwhelming turnover 'advantage.' The Cardinal committed a season-high 28 of them to Portland State's 10. Freshman Daejon Davis turned it over 11 times.
Davis has started all seven games in which he's played and leads Stanford with 32 assists (4.6 per game) but also carries a 0.86-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Redshirt junior Robert Cartwright, who came off the bench to score 19 points against the Vikings, is second on the team with 25 assists and a 2.27-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He's appeared in all eight games, with one start.
Davis is also one of three freshmen, with Isaac White (11 points) and Oscar Da Silva (eight rebounds), who have all started at least six games and are the future of Cardinal basketball. Growing pains equal frustration, though.
It was all there Sunday night as Stanford held a 14-point lead in the first half, only to fall behind by 17 during the second half before losing by nine.
It's a work in progress, as coach Jarod Haase has said. He also said his team is not improving as fast as he'd like. Some of that is injuries and a lot of it is lack of experience.
There's also the academic portion of the equation. The freshmen are about to complete their first quarter of college, with a mandatory two-week break following Sunday's game at Long Beach State.
That's just a break from basketball. The freshmen are about to experience two academic weeks that have often been compared to spending time in a place without windows and the furnace turned up full blast.