Tipoff: 1 p.m. MT
Television: Pac-12 Networks
Arizona State has not only lost their way on the proverbial path, they're wandering aimlessly in the woods. The Sun Devils have had three days to do a whole lot of soul searching since their embarrassing loss to Lehigh in triple overtime. It was the program's first win ever over a Pac-12 team and stopped ASU's 14-game home winning streak in its tracks. It's now time to see how this time can respond to adversity. Will they bow down and call it a season or continue to fight their way back on track in hopes a stellar conference season would put them on the NCAA tournament bubble?
If nothing else, it will be an important game for ASU to simply regain some confidence in their own ability to win going forward.
ASU update (6-5): One of the few positives Saturday night was the play of newcomer Savon Goodman, whose 24 points off the bench were the sixth most for a Sun Devil since the 1989-90 season. The Lehigh game was only the third triple overtime game in ASU history as Herb Sendek fell to 13-7 as the Sun Devil head coach in overtime matchups. In spite of Sendek's questionable decision to play Chance Murray, Gerry Blakes still leads the team, averaging 12.2 points per game.
Detroit update (6-6): The Titans conclude an eight game road trip in Tempe Tuesday and are the losers of two straight against Wichita State and Rhode Island. Juwan Howard Jr. (Yes, the son of the Juwan Howard of Michigan Fab Five fame) leads Detroit averaging 19.8 points a game. Redshirt freshman Paris Bass leads the team in rebounding with 6.3 boards per game. Of note, senior guard Brendan Kearney, who played for the Sun Devils last season, now plays for the Titans. He's averaging seven points and 20 minutes of playing time per game. The last meeting between ASU and Detroit was in the 2013 postseason NIT in Tempe when the Sun Devils won 83-68.
Keys to victory
1. A clean slate
No matter how awful the loss to Lehigh was, ASU has to put it out of their minds. Continuing to dwell on it is possibly the worst sin the Sun Devils could commit. Stretches like this is where team leadership matters the most, Shaquielle McKissic, Eric Jacobsen and Bo Barnes must rally the troops and make sure the team is in the correct mental state. This was a task clearly not completed before the game with Lehigh.
2. Get to the boards
No one player on Detroit taller than 6-foot-7 plays any meaningful minutes. At 6-foot-10, Jacobsen should be able to take full advantage of this on the glass. Savon Goodman's leaping ability should also help the Sun Devils and the two should share the floor in order to create the best matchups.
3. Force the tempo
Lehigh stayed in the game because the Sun Devils remained content to let them stay in it throughout. ASU needs to come out with fire and show they're the better team Tuesday and impose their will in the early going. That being said, Detroit is a scrappy team which forces 15.8 turnovers and 8.6 steals per game. For a team that struggles with ball security, the Sun Devils will need to concentrate on ball security as well.
Prediction: ASU- 82 Detroit-70