Jordan Bachynski has been a dominant force on defense for the Sun Devils - Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Two surprise teams bring undefeated conference records into a highly anticipated matchup in Eugene. The Sun Devils have offensive flair in Jahii Carson and Carrick Felix, but will that be enough to overcome Oregon's 17-game home winning streak?
Tipoff: 7 p.m. Mountain Time
Television: Pac-12 Network
Projected Starting Lineups:
C: Jordan Bachynksi (10.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG) vs. Tony Wood (10.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG)
Oregon Update: The hottest team in the Pac-12 is happy to call the friendly, albeit unconventional, confines of Matthew Knight Arena home. After stunning the Arizona Wildcats in a 70-66 win on Thursday night, the Ducks bring their 17-game home winning streak into a matchup against the Arizona State Sun Devils in a battle for Pac-12 supremacy.
Though the Ducks have benefitted from a weak nonconference slate, Oregon silenced all doubters with another balanced attack in the win over Arizona. The Ducks have four players averaging in double figures and five different players have been the high point man at least once this season. Coach Dana Altman has his team playing an exciting brand of up-tempo basketball and freshman guard Dominic Artis has been every bit as important to the Ducks transition game as Jahii Carson has been for Arizona State.
Arizona State Update: The Sun Devils picked up their first conference road victory of the season behind another stellar performance from team captain Carrick Felix. The senior poured in 18 points and wrestled for 14 boards in a 72-62 victory over Oregon State. At 14-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play, opponents are beginning to take notice of the upstart bunch.
Jahii Carson brings an element of quickness that is difficult to prepare for and 20-point games are becoming the norm for the freshman phenom. Despite the newfound offensive flair, the turnaround for the maroon and gold can be directly attributed to an emphasis on defensive intensity. Jordan Bachynski is leading the charge and averaging 4.6 blocks per game and the Sun Devils are making the paint an uncomfortable place for their opponents.
Jahii Carson vs. Dominic Artis
Two of the fastest point guards in the country reside in the Pac-12 and they will face off against one another tonight. Jahii Carson leads the Sun Devils in points and assists, but his counterpart will have an adoring home crowd roaring every time he drives by the Sun Devil court general.
It's hard to pick against Carrick Felix and E.J. Singler being the matchup of the game, but each team expects a monster performance out of their leader and they likely won't guard each other the whole game. Eventually, this matchup could boil down to which freshman flinches first and that's why the point guard battle is so intriguing.
Keys to Victory
Beat Balance With Balance
Despite the superhuman abilities Carrick Felix and Jahii Carson have displayed of late, the Sun Devils have been most effective when all five players are regularly contributing. Oregon has six or seven guys who can light up the scoreboard if their opponent mentally checks out, and the Sun Devils cannot take a possession off. If Arizona State can get Bachynski, Gilling, or Gordon going early, expect the stars to thrive as well.
Show Up Hungry
Oregon is coming off an emotional high after defeating the No. 3 ranked Wildcats, and the Sun Devils have an opportunity to take advantage of a team that might have left everything on the court on Thursday. To steal a road win, the Sun Devils will need to start hot and play with a chip on their shoulder. If all goes well, Arizona State will walk out of Eugene with another definitive victory to add to its resume.