Fresh of a thrilling 55-54 overtime victory over the Utah Utes on Wednesday night, the Arizona State men's basketball team is back in action tonight at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils (12-2) host the Colorado Buffaloes (10-3), who are coming off a controversial 92-83 OT loss to Arizona on Thursday night. Here is your game preview for tonight's tilt.
Tipoff: 6 p.m.
Television/Radio: Pac-12 Network/ 860 a.m.
Projected Starting Lineups:
PG - Jahii Carson (17.5 PPG, 5.6 APG) vs. Askia Booker (15.1 PPG, 2.5 APG)
SG - Evan Gordon (10.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG) vs. Spencer Dinwiddie (14.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG)
SF - Carrick Felix (14.8 PPG, 7.9 RPG) vs. Xavier Johnson (6.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG)
PF - Jonathan Gilling (9.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG) vs. Andre Roberson (11.8 PPG, 12.0 RPG)
C - Jordan Bachynski (10.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG) vs. Josh Scott (13.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
The Buffaloes went 10-2 in their non-conference slate, with impressive victories over Baylor, Dayton and Murray State to win the Charleston Classic. The Buffaloes fell only to Wyoming (76-59) and Kansas (90-54). Andre Roberson currently ranks third in the country with 12.0 rebounds per game and Colorado as a team is 45th in the nation in rebounding. The backcourt is led by sophomore guard Askia Booker, who leads the team in scoring and ranks second in assists and steals. The Buffaloes lost their opening game of the Pac-12 season in Tucson in overtime. The loss was controversial because it appeared that Colorado guard Sabatino Chen sank the game winning basket as time expired, but the shot was called off by the officials after a review. Nevertheless, Colorado led Arizona by 16 in the second half and by eight with 90 seconds left.
Arizona State Update
The Sun Devils went to overtime in their first Pac-12 contest of 2013 as well, beating the Utah Utes 55-54 Wednesday night. ASU is currently on a four-game winning streak and have won eight of their last nine games. Senior forward Carrick Felix is averaging 16.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in his last 11 games, and Jordan Bachynski is currently third in the NCAA in blocked shots. The Sun Devils shot just 37% from the floor and 22% from beyond the arc against Utah. Freshman guard Jahii Carson is currently averaging 17.5 points and 5.6 assits per game, no freshman in the country has done that in a season since 1997.
Andre Roberson vs. ASU - Roberson is the best rebounder in the conference and one of the best in the country. Roberson has amassed double digit rebounds in four of his last five games, including 20 against Fresno State on December 12th. It will be interesting to see how Herb Sendek chooses to play Roberson, will be double team him? Will he send Jordan Bachynski to guard him? Either way, the Sun Devils will have their hands full with the Pac-12's leading rebounder.
Keys To Victory
Defensive Rebounding: It will be important for the Sun Devils to limit the Buffaloes to one shot on each possession. As a team, Colorado shoots 47% from the field (33rd in the nation), the Sun Devils cannot afford to give the Buffaloes extra possessions.
Don't Go Cold: The Sun Devils live and die by the three-point shot. When they struggle (4-18 against Utah), they have a hard time winning games. Arizona State also goes through stretches where the offense struggles to find a rhythm and in return, scoring becomes challenging.