Tip off: 6 p.m.
Television: Pac-12 Networks
ASU and Oregon meet for the second time this season Friday night in Tempe. The Ducks barely escaped the Sun Devils in Eugene and ASU has looked better as of late. Oregon has stayed on an even keel, but a home sweep against two teams the Sun Devils have lost to previously this season would go a long way toward helping this group gain more confidence.
Oregon update 16-7 (4-4):
Since the last time the two teams met, Oregon is 2-3 losing to both Washington schools, beating both UCLA schools and also falling to Arizona Wednesday night in a beat down 90-56 loss. Elgin Cook had 16 points for the Ducks and Joseph Young added 12 points. Young, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, is leading the team with 18.9 points and 3.4 assists per game. Freshman 6-foot-6 forward Dillon Brooks is second on the team with 13 points per game.
ASU update 11-10 (3-5):
The Sun Devils are 3-2 in their last five since losing a close game to Oregon. Things are trending up for ASU, which beat an Oregon State team they lost to in Corvallis 73-55. The Sun Devils are simply making shots and playing some quality team basketball at times. Shaquielle McKissic and Gerry Blakes are both averaging just over 10 points per game. Savon Goodman and Eric Jacobsen are providing the force in the paint, each grabbing five boards per contest.
Keys to victory
1. Shut down the passing lanes
ASU needs to keep its hands active Friday night on defense. The Ducks share the ball well and are No. 18 in the country with 15.7 assists per game. Oregon is also 13-2 when they have more assists than their opponent.
2. Keep McKissic involved
While he didn't play a factor in the Cal win, it seems like ASU's victories come easier when Shaquielle McKissic plays with more physicality and confidence. He had 16 points in the closer win over Colorado and 17 points Wednesday against Oregon State. If McKissic can continue to be versatile in his shooting range and knock down shots, ASU can have success.The only way he can do that is to have the ball in his hands (believe it or not).
3. Go to the rim
It's true ASU shoots well from beyond the arc with Bo Barnes and Jonathan Gilling when they're hot. It seems counterintuitive to go to the rim against a shot blocker like Oregon freshman Jordan Bell who has a school record 69 blocks already averaging over three per game. The Sun Devils are shooting 37 percent from deep, which if they completely rely on it, isn't going to win them a lot of basketball games. ASU has to establish a post presence and draw contact from Bell to get him in foul trouble early. If they can get him sitting with two fouls well before the half, the Sun Devils might be able to establish a cushion.
The Sun Devils beat what is a quality OSU team with Gary Payton II which beat them in Corvallis. There is no reason to think ASU can't do the same this time with Oregon, especially with the parity developing within the conference.
Prediction: ASU- 80 Oregon-68