by: Griffin Bennett
Once a tough game for any team, this year’s version of head coach Herb Sendek’s team is definitely struggling. At 6-13 (2-5) this year, the Sun Devils are 288th and 289th in scoring and rebounding nationally, respectively. That’s really bad. On top of that, they only scored 43 points against another poor team in Utah last Saturday. I almost feel bad for them… almost.
Their leading scorer, Trent Lockett (13.9), has been out for the last two games and is questionable for the game against the Huskies. He was a real breakout player last season and it can be nothing but good news if he’s out.
Their second leading scorer this season, Kaela King (13.7), has left the team entirely. It’s just not the Sun Devil’s year. At guard, that leaves Carrick Felix (10.7 ppg), Chanse Creekmur (5.4), and Chris Colvin (5.7) holding down the fort. Like I said, it’s just not the Sun Devil’s year.
Felix is an explosive athlete at 6-6 and, without Lockett in the line up, is their best scoring option. Look for him and Ross to go one-on-one almost the entire night. Colvin is their default point guard averaging a 3.1:3.0 assist/turnover ratio. Creekmur scored 24 points against Oregon State when he caught fire from deep shooting 6/7. In the two games since then he has scored zero points while playing 66 minutes. I’m not too worried about him.
In the post it doesn’t get much better. Ruslan Pateev, the seven footer from Russia, will square off with Aziz at center in an international clash of the ages. Pateev has struggled this year averaging only 14 minutes a game at 4.8 points and 3.4 rebounds. Alongside Pateev will be sophomore Kyle Cain and freshman (from Denmark) Jonathan Gilling. Cain was a highly touted recruit who has under performed and I have never even heard of Gilling before.
Chris Colvin – 6-2
Chanse Creekmur – 6-5
Carrick Felix – 6-6
Jonathan Gilling – 6-7
Ruslan Pateev – 7-0
Abdul Gaddy, 6-3
Tony Wroten Jr., 6-5
Terrence Ross, 6-6
Desmond Simmons, 6-7
Aziz N’Diaye, 7-0
Note: I’m assuming that Trent Locket is not starting, if that wasn’t obvious.
Keys to the Game:
- Pace – It doesn’t get more different than between these two teams. The Huskies lead the conference with 62.7 field goal attempts per game and the Sun Devils are dead last with only 46.5. ASU will look to slow down the game to a snail’s pace and limit possessions. UW needs to get out on the break and run.
- Rebounding – Perhaps this needs it’s own post, but the Huskies are DOMINATING the boards this season. They are first in the conference in RPG and 8th in the nation. It was a real concern of mine to begin the season and now it has become the biggest strength of this team. ASU is 10th in the conference in rebounding so the Huskies need to assert their dominance.
- 3-point Shooting – ASU and Sendek love the zone and without Wilcox, this team is limited in perimeter scoring options. Look for ASU to be in a lot of zone which means Ross/Gaddy/Gant need to be on point from deep. Tony, please notice how I did NOT mention your name.
Prediction: UW 72, ASU 59
This game is tailor made for UW to win. Please note that I’m writing this assuming that Lockett will not play. ASU is not a good basketball team and the Huskies can easily assert their dominance on this struggling Sun Devil team. Look for Aziz, Wroten, and Gaddy to have great nights with very pleasing match ups.
Mainly, I want to see 40 minutes of great energy and effort. I know we are all looking forward to the match up in Tucson on Saturday but let’s set the tone on Thursday night. Bow Down.