Tonight is a big night in the desert. With a win, ASU would extend their current stranglehold on the rivalry to four consecutive wins. Arizona can improve their NCAA stock markedly with a win this evening as well.
In reality, both squads are in the tournament. We know that the selection committee respects Arizona (to the point of inclusion last march, despite our season sweep), and ASU has had an amazing season.
We interviewed Joe from AZ Desert Swarm, who filled us in on important aspects of the UA team. His insights help frame our mindset when it comes to this matchup.
Players to watch:
ASU: Derek Glasser. Can the Glassman help shut down Nic Wise AND lead the Sun Devil offense efficiently? It's a tall order for the junior point guard, but ever since his concussion he has played with a strong mental toughness and has carried with himself an air of confidence.
Arizona: Jordan Hill. The success of Arizona's gameplan hinges entirely on Jordan Hill's offensive prowess against the zone. If he can force the zone to collapse on his monster abilities, Chase Budinger and Wise will be free to light up the scoreboard from downtown. If he is neutralized by Jeff Pendergraph and Rihards Kuksiks, then there will be trouble for the Wildcats.
Expect ASU to want to slow down the pace, utilizing a deliberate tempo that Herb Sendek enjoys implementing.
Prediction: ASU 74, UA 63
This is the Sun Devils' year, and the Wildcats cannot stop this gravy train.