STANFORD — For nearly a year, speculation has surrounded Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins and his future at the school.
Not that he let it affect his daily preparations. Sure, Dawkins acknowledged his team needed to take the next step after enduring devastating injuries, inconsistent play and its share of late-game collapses that kept the Cardinal from the NCAAs during Dawkins’ first five seasons. Athletic director Bernard Muir made it clear he expected an NCAA tournament berth to measure the progress of Dawkins and his program.
No. 10 seed Stanford (21-12, 10-8 Pac-12) earned an at-large bid Sunday to face seventh-seeded New Mexico (27-6) on Friday in the South Regional at St. Louis in the program’s return to the tournament for the first time since 2008 — two years after winning the NIT.