VS ASU last year: 0-1
NET Ranking: 85
Points scored: 71.3 (216 of 353)
Points allowed: 68.5 (91 of 253)
The end of the regular season is in sight, and before the Pac-12 convenes for the tournament in Vegas there’s one more score to settle.
Arizona State men’s basketball travels south to Tucson to take on rival Arizona looking to break a long skid. ASU last won at the McKale Center in Feb. 2010, as Arizona’s home court remains one of the toughest in the country.
Luckily for the Sun Devils, this week’s contest presents a great opportunity to break the streak and score the sweep over the Wildcats. The team’s first matchup in Tempe was an important overtime win for ASU.
Bobby Hurley got his first victory over Sean Miller after losing his first six games as ASU’s head coach. It was an important step forward for the program to knock of their rival after many frustrating losses when they had far inferior talent.
For at least this season, Arizona State has the far more talented roster and are trying to solidify their NCAA Tournament prospects. A win in front of a hostile Tucson crowd could be the crowning achievement the Sun Devils are seeking to add to their collection of quality wins.
Sophomore guard Remy Martin played exceptionally well during the team’s first matchup scoring a career-high 31 points and dishing eight assists. Redshirt senior forward Zylan Cheatham also set a personal record by bringing down 22 rebounds in the victory.
Arizona’s senior forward Ryan Luther was a problem shooting the ball for ASU as he was knocking down three point shots on his way to a 19 points and nine rebounds performance. If Luther is making shots against ASU again, the Wildcats will likely be in a good position to pull off the victory on his senior day.
UA’s other senior Justin Colman played well in the first meeting as well, as he scored 19 points and got his teammates involved with nine assists.
While most teams have tried to stop the ASU offense with a zone defense, Arizona head coach Sean Miller is known for running a primarily man-to-man style. UA did employ some zone in the first matchup, but did primarily play man-to-man.
ASU shot the ball very efficiently in the first meeting at 56 percent as a team. It will be tough to replicate that efficiency, but expect the Sun Devils to try and exploit their size advantage against the undersized Wildcats.
In order for the Sun Devils to pull off the win on the road, they will need to control the glass like they’ve done for the majority of the season. ASU had issues rebounding during the Oregon trip, but used their shooting to sneak out of Corvallis with the victory.