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ASU Basketball: Sun Devils look to roll into conference play with win over Harvard

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The Crimson are bringing their game to Tempe

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Tipoff: 12 p.m. MT

Television: Pac-12 Networks

ASU update (7-5): Mid-season transfer Savon Goodman continues to impress. The sophomore forward dropped 22 points earlier this week in Arizona State's 93-54 win against Detroit, but he is doing more than just scoring the ball. Goodman is also averaging 8 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game.

Harvard update (7-2): The Crimson continue a three game road swing in Tempe on Sunday and are coming off a terrible loss at Virginia in which they were outscored 76-27. Senior guard Wesley Saunders leads the team with 18.3 points per game, but if the Sun Devils shut him down they have a good chance of winning this game. Steve Moundou-Missi leads Harvard in rebounds at a clip of 6.8 a game. The forward is also the team's primary post defender and will be tasked with guarding Goodman when Harvard goes to man defense. The Crimson have defeated one power conference opponent each season since their 2007-08 campaign and this trip to Wells Fargo Arena will be their final chance to keep that streak alive this year.

Keys to victory

1. Continued production off the bench

The Arizona State bench is averaging 30.3 points a game. A lot of basketball fans may consider that to be an overrated statistic, but head coach Herb Sendek does not. He loves bringing three-point sharpshooter Jonathan Gilling off the bench and thinks the Dane provides a much needed spark for the Sun Devil offense. He might be right. The maroon and gold's bench has outscored the opponents all but two times this year. They should be able to do it again this afternoon against Harvard.

2. Play your way

Arizona State likes to play fast and that will be another big key to victory. Its offense tends to get sloppy and the players look disoriented when slowing down. Keep the pace up and you might be able to run the visitors out of the gym, the last time the Sun Devils will get the chance to do that as the talent level picks up big time once nonconference play ends.

3. Quick start

Take a look at both team's last games. Arizona State jumped out to a 22-8 advantage on Detroit and ended up cruising to a 39-point win. Harvard, meanwhile, fell behind 30-4 at Virginia en route to a 49-point defeat. If the Sun Devils jump out to a double digit lead early, I think a disheartened Crimson team struggles to keep up.

Prediction: ASU- 74 Harvard - 58