Last Saturday, the Sun Devils got their biggest win of the season with a 78-60 throttling of the UCLA Bruins. ASU outrebounded the Bruins 49-29 and as a team blocked 10 shots. Jordan Bachynski showed up big again for the Sun Devils, posting 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Our lastest roundtable focuses on that victory and what our staff took away from the Sun Devils' performance.
Question: What did the victory over UCLA tell you about this Sun Devil team?
Tyler Nickel: What the victory over UCLA taught me is that this Sun Devils team does not back down from anyone. They are not worried about what college basketball pundits have to say or anyone's opinions of their team. They play with a heart that we haven't seen with a Herb Sendek Devils team so far. None of the players are slefish and rely on each other to knock down the big shot, which is a far cry from what we saw last season. With an attitude like they have, who knows how far they can go.
Cory Williams: The victory over UCLA told us that the Sun Devils were finally going to get some attention and respect from the national college basketball media. Up to this point, ASU simply did not deserve to be mentioned in national basketball circles, but the win over the Bruins changed all that. Andy Katz recognized Carrick Felix as a gamechanging talent and Dick Vitale tweeted at Jordan Bachynski, praising his excellent game against UCLA.
We learned this team is brimming with confidence and has worked hard to win 16 of their first 20 games. We learned that you can't just stroll into Tempe and expect to win. We learned that Arizona State basketball has bite in 2013.
Cody Ulm: What I learned is that this team actually has a sense of urgency. They realized that Saturday's game was one of the few times this season that they'd be able to capture some national attention and they pounced on it. To see them come out with such energy and intensity just a few days after an overtime game was amazing. Teams can no longer count the Devils as a breather when they make their Arizona road trip. This team has the ability to put together a complete game at any time and the rest of the Pac-12 should take notice.
Kerry Crowley: Beating UCLA said a lot about this team's talent, but also its character. The Sun Devils easily could have dragged their feet into Saturday's game after playing an overtime thriller on Thursday night, but they proved that they are a relentless bunch. Even though three players played over 40 minutes against the Trojans, those same players poured their heart and soul into the UCLA game as they knew their tourney hopes relied on a strong showing at home against the Bruins.
Carrick Felix is getting national recognition, Jordan Bachynski set career highs, and Jahii Carson continues to outmatch his opponents, but the Sun Devils are about more than just individual players. This team is greater than the sum of its parts and that's because each and every player is buying what Coach Herb Sendek is selling. The commitment to team defense is evident, sharing the ball is a priority, and winning the big ones really matter. We learned a lot about ASU this weekend, and everything we learned should please Sun Devil fans.
Nick Marek: I learned that this team can win a big game. After losses to Creighton, DePaul and Arizona I thought Arizona State was evolving into a team that would only beat teams at the same level as them. That was proven wrong on Saturday night after an 18-point shellacking against the Bruins. Jahii Carson, Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski all came to play that night and this Sun Devil team has a very reasonable chance of finishing in the top three of the Pac-12. Andy Katz of ESPN recognized Felix as his national player of the week thanks to back-to-back double-doubles in the weekend sweep. In a bigger picture, once a team gets a quality win, more usually follow so watch out Oregon and Arizona because the Sun Devils have quickly become a dark horse in the west.
Ryan Bafaloukos: What the UCLA victory taught me is that this team can not only complete against the best teams in conference, ASU can beat them. We say this team play Oregon very tough on the road, and play Arizona tough for 30 minutes at home. This is ASU's biggest victory to date. UCLA came to Tempe with a lot of momentum and ASU was coming off an OT game two nights before. Not too mention this team played without their sixth man, Chris Colvin. Four of the five starters played at least 38 minutes in that game and this team improved as the game went on. Another thing that this UCLA win showed me is how important the home crowd can me. The players feed off of them and there is no doubt that fans should start getting excited about this team.