Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
Tip off is in three hours. Will the Devils pull off the upset? The House of Sparky staff draws their lines in the desert sand.
The Sun Devils look to defend the Territorial Cup's honor in just three hours as the Arizona Wildcats come to Tempe. Here's what our staff thinks is going to unfold.
Staff Prediction Overview
Brad Denny: ASU wins 71-68
They say that in this rivalry, records get thrown out the window. Last year's finale is proof of that, but here we actually has a Sun Devil team that can stand and compete with the Wildcats on somewhat equal footing. Arizona is the better team and should win this game. However...this game seems to have those indescribable intangible qualities that could create an upset. If ASU plays a nearly perfect game-stay out of foul trouble, hit free throws-I think that the home court (and the Territorial Cup being in the house) will result in some grumpy cats. Game MVP: Carrick Felix
Ryan Bafalouskos: Arizona wins 75-68
I feel like these teams are more even on paper than most people believe. The point can be made that the Sun Devils are superior at the point guard and center positions. Last season Jordan Bachynski shot 5-7 from the field in ASU's 87-80 victory over the Wildcats. Jonathan Gilling also had 21 points, and Felix dropped 23. This game will come down to the wings. How will Carrick Felix and Jonathan Gilling matchup up against Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley. In the end I think this is the game where the lack of a bench and poor free thrown shooting hurt the Sun Devils. I think ASU keeps it close but looses a close game. MVP: Nick Johnson
Cory Williams: ASU wins 77-72
I know the rest of my staff is apprehensive about ASU's chances in this game today, but I am prepared to issue a verdict in favor of Herb Sendek. At 14-3, this team is competent and playing at a high level. While short on depth, the Devils have found consistency with a short bench and through Jahii Carson's leadership on the court. Arizona is more talented from top to bottom, but this game will come down to the five players on the court, and in this situation ASU, behind Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski, have the special sauce to pull off the upset in front of a ravenous home crowd. MVP: Jordan Bachynski
Kerry Crowley: Arizona wins 72-66
Everyone loves an upset, and college basketball rivalry games are among the best place to find one. The Sun Devils have all the pieces to suggest defeating one of the Top 10 teams in the country isn't out of the question, but I'm afraid we won't see it happen tomorrow. The Wildcats have more than just their No. 7 ranking on the line, they have their pride riding on this game. Last year, Arizona was thoroughly embarrassed in the trip to Tempe and you can bet every returning player has his mind set on beating the Sun Devils and beating them bad. That being said, I think we're in for a quality basketball game that should come down to the final minutes. If the Sun Devils can get big performances from Jahii Carson, Carrick Felix, and another member of the starting rotation, there's no question in my mind that this team will compete until the very end. However, Arizona has too much talent, and too much focus coming off the recent loss to Oregon to allow another slip up to happen.
MVP: Mark Lyons
Nick Marek: Arizona wins 65-59
Finally ASU fans can get excited during basketball season. Imagine that? I think the Wildcats will be too much for the Sun Devils to handle because free throws will hurt the maroon and gold and UofA is already upset about their road loss to an unranked Oregon team. Don't get me wrong, as much as I would love to see the Sun Devils win, I think Arizona is a little bit more poised to win this game and the number seven ranking shows that. ASU has a very good chance to upset their cross-state rivals and I'm predicting a very close game for 30 minutes, but the Sun Devils will slowly lose control at the end because they are not used to playing as talented of a team as Arizona. Remember, Arizona beat San Diego State, UNLV and Florida in non-conference play. Still, it should be a great one in Tempe.
MVP: Nick Johnson
Tyler Nickel: ASU wins 60-56
This could very well come down to a game based on who has the home court advantage. In this case, it is the Sun Devils. If they managed to upset the Wildcats last year at home on the back of Bachynski, why couldn't they do it again this year with a better Bachynski and an improved core? U of A will key on stopping him, so I think that will allow Carrick Felix to have a huge game. MVP: Carrick Felix
Cody Ulm: Arizona wins 72-61
If Oregon didn't already beat the Wildcats then I'd say this game would be prime opportunity for an upset. Instead, I'm expecting this Arizona team to be on their toes, especially after what happened last year in Tempe. Sean Miller is going to make a concerted effort to frustrating Bachysnski this go around and I wouldn't be surprised if he got into foul trouble early. The Devils will hang with Arizona offensively but the fast tempo of this game will play right into the Wildcats' hands. I wouldn't be absolutely shocked if Carson and Co. manage to steal this one but I'm guessing the Wildcats will be too much to handle. Game MVP: Solomon Hill