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ASU Basketball: Washington State preview

The Cougars are not a good basketball team.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State

VS ASU last year: 0-1

NET Ranking: 230

Points scored: 77.3 (83 of 353)

Points allowed: 79.0 (328 of 353)

It’s been quite the roller coaster season for Arizona State men’s basketball team. With the highest of highs in defeating then No. 1 Kansas, to the bitter taste of losing a home game to the lowly Princeton Tigers.

With time running short in the regular season, the Sun Devils are seeking what every team does late in the year: consistency. It’s a lofty goal, that often comes up short at the collegiate level.

ASU has quite the weekend ahead as they welcome the best, and the second worst Pac-12 team into Tempe looking to cut into UW’s first place lead. Luckily for the Sun Devils, if they take care of business against WSU they can truly enjoy their moment at home against the Huskies.

Cougars head coach Ernie Kent’s team is focused on one thing, and one thing only: scoring the basketball. They’re one of the better scoring teams in the country and are fourth in the Pac-12.

They boast a very productive offensive front court with senior forward Robert Franks and freshman forward CJ Elleby who account for about 48 percent of the team’s scoring per game.

Franks during his final season in Pullman is currently the conference’s leading scorer at 21.4 points per game while also bringing down 7.4 rebounds as well.

Elleby’s style is a little different as an undersized player, but the left-hander is very adept at driving and is second on the team in three-point percentage at 38 percent from beyond the arc.

However, WSU hasn’t dedicated the time needed to stop their opponents from scoring. As one of the worst defensive teams in the nation, the Sun Devils shouldn’t struggle to find open shots as the highest scoring team in the conference.

After a strong performance by ASU’s senior forward Zylan Cheatham against Arizona, the Sun Devils are feeling good about their postseason prospects. The redshirt senior transfer has been dynamic this season, and has been doing tremendous work on the glass.

Cheatham and sophomore guard Remy Martin are squarely in the conversation for the player of the year in the Pac-12. Martin did it all against the Wildcats, as he scored 31 points and dished out eight assists on way to the overtime victory.

Both at times have disappeared in games on the offensive side, but it’s not hard to see just how impactful both have been on the defensive end. Martin at times looks stuck between deciding to create his own shot or lead a pass-first attack to get his teammates involved.

This upcoming stretch of games is important for ASU to not only get on track ahead of the conference tournament, but to continue solidifying their late game rotation.

Freshman forward Taeshon Cherry will be out for this week’s action as he’s still battling post-concussion symptoms suffered against Arizona.

With another week of a shorter rotation coming up, the Sun Devils will hope they can put away the Cougars early and begin focus on first-place Washington.