One win in Washington is good, but two would be great.
That is what the Sun Devils (17-4, 6-2) have their sights set on doing as they travel from Pullman to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies (12-9, 4-4). A victory over the Washington State Cougars on Thursday night helped put ASU in talks of possibly entering the top 25, but a win over the Huskies might finally see them in it.
That won't be so easy, though, as the Huskies battled with the 8th ranked Arizona Wildcats until the last minute where they finally lost, 57-53. The Devils, on the other hand, are having their best overall season since 1980-81, a team led by Byron Scott, Fat Lever and Alton Lister. The last time ASU went 6-2 in the Pac? 1993-94.
Don't look for the Sun Devils to slow down now, either. Under the direction of senior leader Carrick Felix and the stellar play of freshman guard Jahii Carson, this team could be headed for big things. Carson was recently named as one of 12 players to the USWBA Freshman of the Year Award list. He is also one of 20 finalists for the Bob Cousy award, given to the nation's top point guard.
In order for ASU to keep on their hot path, stopping C.J. Wilcox is a must. A sharp shooter from behind the arc (he is shooting an astounding 41% from three-point range this season), Wilcox also possesses a great all-around game. The 6-5 guard can take defenders to the hoop or burn them with a sweet jumper if they sag off too much. That is why Carrick Felix, the Devils' shutdown defender, may be tasked with guarding him on Saturday night.
The Devils need to ensure that they continue to give their junior big man Jordan Bachynski plenty of touches. Bachynski scored just five points on six shot attempts on Thursday with a 6-10 Brock Motum defending him for much of the contest. Aziz N'Diaye will be a much bigger load at 7-0, 260 pounds, but that should be no excuse for the Devils not to get JB the ball.
Evan Gordon has averaged 16.8 points per game over his last five outings and if ASU wants to have success in this game, they will be looking for more of the same from him. He has become this team's x-factor, as when he performs at a high level, they tend to win games. He may be asked to guard Wilcox at times, so it is imperative that his effort on the defensive end does not take away from his offensive prowess.
Get Bachynski the ball, shut down C.J. Wilcox and keep Gordon hot on offense. Sounds easy enough.
To watch the game, tune into ESPNU at 9:00 PM ET/7:00 PM MST.