Sun Devils seek McKale upset
Who are the Arizona State Sun Devils?
Record: (13-4, 2-2 Pac-12)
Notable victories: 86-80 at UNLV, 79-77 vs. No. 25 Marquette
ASU entered the 2013-14 season with high hopes, and for good reason. Sophomore point guard Jahii Carson has a strong possibility of being a first round NBA draft pick in this upcoming year — Carson has made it clear that this will be his last as a Sun Devil. Combined with shot-blocking and rebounding monster Jordan Bachysnki, ASU has leaders in its front and backcourt to compete with the best players on any team in the Pac-12 Conference.
What the Sun Devils might have overlooked was the loss of guards Evan Gordon and Carrick Felix.
The younger brother to New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon Jr., Gordon was the third leading scorer for ASU last season and scored more than 1,000 points in his first three collegiate seasons. Following the 2012-13 season, Gordon left Tempe, Ariz., and transferred to his brother’s alma mater, Indiana.
Felix graduated after last season and finished the 2012-13 season with 13 double-doubles, nine of which came in conference games.
With no standout freshmen, Carson has attempted take over most of the scoring in 2013-14, averaging 18.1 per game, including a 40-point game against UNLV on Nov. 19. In that game, Carson played 39 of the game’s 40 minutes. The spry guard has played in 38 or more minutes in five of the 17 Sun Devil games, and he’s only twice played less than 30 minutes.
Even though ASU ranks 103rd in the NCAA in rebounds per game, Bachynski has gotten his fill. The 7-foot-2 Canadian center is averaging just fewer than 10 rebounds per game, placing him in the top 30 in the country.
The Wildcats have struggled with rebounds as of late, especially in the first half; that trend could continue tonight with Bachynski coming to town.
The lack of scorers and rebounders for the Sun Devils will be the determining factor and, in the end, will help Arizona come away with the victory. The Wildcats have the fourth best scoring defense, limiting opposing offenses to 56 points per game. ASU’s offense has done well, and even better than Arizona’s, by averaging 77.2 point per game. But the Wildcats shouldn’t have a problem shutting down Carson in the backcourt and limiting Bachynski down low.
Player To Watch: Jahii Carson
While Arizona shouldn’t have too much trouble containing the energetic Carson, he is still an NBA-caliber athlete and could score 20 or more points tonight, but Arizona can live with that, because the majority of talent around Carson isn’t playing at a high enough level where Carson’s 20 points will make a huge impact in the game.
One and done about ASU
Head coach Herb Sendek has done a bad job surrounding the proper talent around Carson for this season, which is probably why Carson won’t be staying at ASU for much longer
Arizona 72, ASU 60