Game Day Preview: Arizona State


Arizona State University (Public – Research Institution)
Mascot: Sun Devils
Location: Tempe, AZ
Enrollment: 72,200

Current Record: 6-13 (2-5 in Pac-12 Conference)
RPI: 226        SOS: 97

Coach: Herb Sendek (6th year)

First Thought: Did you know that Arizona State University is now the largest in the country? Since the State of Arizona has only three 4-year universities, these three universities have grown dramatically in recent years as the state’s population has boomed.

Best Win: 84-56 over Wake Forest (RPI 101)
Worst Loss: 69-68 to Northern Arizona (RPI 338)

Last Game: 64-43 loss to Utah (RPI 253)

Synopsis: It’s hard to imagine that Herb Sendek will remain coach of the Sun Devils after this year. His teams the last couple of years have been atrocious. The team got off to a rough start with big time recruit Jahii Carson was ruled academically ineligible. The team has been troubled with chemistry issues all year and that eventually led to their leading scorer Keala King leaving/being dismissed from the team. This dismal season came to an ultimate low in their 21 point loss on the road to lowly Utah, including scoring a season low 43 points.

My analysis: Despite the struggles, Arizona State does still have some talent on the roster. 6’4″ junior guard Trent Lockett is averaging a team high 35 min per game while scoring 13.9 points and 6.4 rbs. He’s tall and crafty and could be a tough matchup for Wroten or Gaddy. He’s also really good beyond the arc and is averaging 42.4% from 3-point range. In addition 6’6″ wing Carrick Felix is logging big minutes (34 per game) while scoring 10.7 points and 4.4 rbs. Felix is extremely athletic and leads the team in blocks for the year. 6’7″ sophomore forward Kyle Cain is not a big scorer (8.7 ppg), but he gets to the glass (6.4 rbs) and puts in some good minutes.

Another threat beyond the arc is 6’7″ freshman forward Jonathan Gilling of Denmark. In classic European-style, he loves to step outside the arc and is averaging 41.1% from 3-point range. He is currently a role player, averaging 18 minutes per game, but with Keala King out and the need to go deeper in their bench, he could play a role for ASU.

Up front, the biggest match up issues for Aziz, Gant, and Simmons will be rebounding and penetrating against the twin towers of 7’0″ Ruslan Pateev of Russia and 7’2″ Jordan Bachynski of Alberta. They are not big scorers, but they do create a presence inside on defense. Pateev is tied with Felix on blocks on the year (21) and Bachynski is right behind them at 19. They both average about 18 minutes per game, so they are swapped out for each other frequently.

In summary, there is no reason the Huskies can not run away with this game if they play with the intensity they showed against Stanford. While this is a road game, the arena will probably be half empty, except for the 3-4 K Huskies fans who live in Arizona who will be dressed in purple (like me).  The Huskies have only played 2 road games in their first 7 conference games, so this is a nice chance to get one on the road before heading down to Tucson on Saturday for a critical matchup against the Wildcats.

My Prediction: UW 73 Arizona State 57