The Sun Devils begin their final road swing of the 2010-2011 season on Thursday evening, when they take on the UCLA Bruins at Pauley Pavilion in Westwood Village.
UCLA has seen its record improve a great deal from last year, when they went 14-18 and were in a state of disarray. Coach Ben Howland has taken back control of his team, and the presence of freshman center Joshua Smith and his 305 pounds has made a big difference in the paint.
The Bruins are young yet experienced, with Reeves Nelson, Tyler Honeycutt, and Malcolm Lee all contributing in a big way, averaging over 12.5 points each this year.
ASU took the Bruins to overtime in late January, but suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss. That's been the story of the season for the Devils: losing games they could win, and losing games they should lose.
With the big victory over Washington State under their belts, the Sun Devils will look to continue their momentum (and the youth movement) against the Bruins. Chanse Creekmur and Keala King really came through on Saturday.
I hope to see the young guys playing a lot of minutes on Thursday, starting with Carrick Felix and King. Felix can jump out of the gym and King has plenty of untapped potential. After breaking the nine-game losing streak, optimism can filter back into our fan minds. Let's go Devils!
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