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Arizona State vs. Baylor preview: Sun Devils look to continue NIT run against Baylor

Arizona State faces Baylor in the NIT second round. Here is your game preview.

Jeff Gross

After a 83-68 beat down of Detroit on Wednesday night, the Sun Devils continue their quest for Madison Square Garden today against Baylor University. The Bears scored a season high 112 points in a 46-point drubbing of Long Beach State in their first round game. It won't be an easy game for the Devils, who had to travel to Waco, Texas for the game.

Baylor is led by senior guard Pierre Jackson, who leads the team in scoring and assists. Jackson has posted double figures in scoring in all but one game this season. Freshman big man Isaiah Austin leads the Bears on the boards. The seven-footer averages 13.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG while also shooting 33% from three point territory.

Baylor ranks top 50 nationally in points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game, and the Bears have scored over 90 points in four games this season.

The Sun Devils are playing Baylor for the fourth time in the past five seasons, the all-time series is tied at nine games apiece. Jahii Carson is averaging 22.1 points per game away from Wells Fargo Arena this season and the redshirt freshman has nine 20-point games on the road.

Tipoff: 8 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. PST

Television/Radio: ESPN2 / 860 AM

Key Matchups

Point Guard - Jahii Carson vs. Pierre Jackson

Carson has faced some great point guards this season, including Larry Drew III, Mark Lyons and most recently Ray McCallum. Add Jackson to that list, as the senior guard from Las Vegas leads a potent Baylor offensive attack. Over his last five games, Jackson has averaged 22 points and nearly 7 assists. Jackson, like Carson, is listed at just 5-10.

Center - Jordan Bachynski vs. Isaiah Austin

Bachynski has been outstanding all season, however he has not faced a center with the skill set of Austin. ESPN's No. 2 rated center in the 2012 high school class, Austin has not disappointed since coming to Waco. He has attempted 85 three-point field goals this season, shooting at a mark of 33% and has posted 10 double-doubles this season.

The Sun Devils have had a hard time rebounding when Bachynski is away from the basket, which may happen a lot today. Austin averages nearly 3 offensive rebounds per game and it will be important for Bachynski to hold him under or right at that mark.

Keys to the Game

Start Fast - On the road it is always important to jump out to an early lead. ASU cannot spend the first half getting adjusted and finding a rhythm. The Sun Devils need to come out early and sink shots and set the tone for the rest of the game.

Control the Defensive Glass - One of the big proponents of the ASU meltdown against UCLA was the fact that UCLA controlled the boards in the second half. Baylor has three players that average six rebounds or more, including two players over eight rebounds per game. The Bears also shoot 45% from the field, meaning ASU cannot afford to give Baylor second chances.

Further NIT coverage

The full second round schedule of the 2013 NIT

Printable NIT bracket