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ASU Basketball: The Sun Devils take on rival Wildcats in home-and-home series this week

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Sun Devils looks to turn the tide against Arizona

NCAA Basketball: San Diego State at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Following a one-point loss to the Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, the Arizona State men’s basketball team (4-6, 1-3 Pac-12) returns home to take on rival, Arizona Wildcats on Thursday.

Following Thursday’s matchup, the Sun Devils will take a quick road trip to the McKale Center in Tucson, clashing with Sean Miller’s squad again on Monday.

Monday’s matchup was originally scheduled for March 6, but with four conference games being postponed for ASU, the schedule change creates flexibility for the Sun Devils to make up those games. The final regular season game for Arizona State is February 27 and with the Pac-12 tournament starting on March 10, the goal is to fit games within that time span.

How to Watch

Thursday night’s matchup will be aired on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. MST. For Monday’s battle, the game will be available on ESPN2 at 9:00 p.m. MST.

Who to Watch

The Wildcats (10-3, 4-3) are coming off of a win against the Oregon State Beavers on Thursday. Before the victory in Corvallis, Sean Miller and Co. were swept by USC and UCLA at home.

For Arizona, they have five players averaging double digits, including junior guard, James Akinjo, leading the team, averaging 13.5 points and over five assists per game..

Freshman guard/forward Benedict Mathurin has provided a boost off the bench. He is averaging 12 points, shooting over 48 percent from beyond the arc. Arizona State ranks tenth in the Pac-12 for three-point field goal percentage defense. Mathurin could provide problems for Bobby Hurley’s squad from deep range.

Last week, the Sun Devils rebounding and shooting struggles continued to haunt them. ASU currently ranks ninth in three-point field goal percentage after shooting 28 percent from downtown in Corvallis.

The rebounding battle may provide more struggles for Bobby Hurley and Co. as they rank eleventh in the Pac-12 in rebound margin, while the Wildcats are the top rebounding team in the conference.

The Sun Devils are hoping to get Jalen Graham back, who has returned to practice but is questionable for the games.

“We have to solidify our frontcourt and we have to get healthier and Jalen Graham is a step in the right direction with regard to do that,” Hurley said. “We’re going to need to get those guys performing at a good level and making sure we’re all committing to protecting the lane and rebounding the basketball. Those are going to be major priorities in this game.”

History

The Sun Devils are 84-152 all-time against their rival. Currently, Arizona State has won three of the last four matchup against Arizona, including a comeback victory at home in their last clash in Jan. 2020.

Other Notes

- ASU has lost four straight games, including three in a row at home. Will rivalry week fuel them enough to end the drought?

- Remy Martin returned on Saturday. Hurley confirmed that Taeshon Cherry will still be out.