CS-Northridge (7-2) at Arizona State (7-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (14,198) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: CSN 3-0, ASU 6-0. Away Record: CSN 1-2, ASU 0-0. Neutral Record: CSN 3-0, ASU 1-1. Conference Record: CSN 0-0, ASU 0-0. Series Record: ASU leads 4-0.
GAMES NOTES: Two seven-win teams will collide at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday afternoon when the Cal State-Northridge Matadors battle the host Arizona State Sun Devils.
Last season CS-Northridge finished with seven total wins, but this year the Matadors have already reached that win total in just nine games. The Matadors have been slowed up on the road though with just one win in three tries away from home. However that doesn't mean the entire season has been built on beating up on opponents at home as the Matadors are 3-0 in neutral contests. CS-Northridge will host San Diego Christian in its next matchup.
It has also been a blistering start for Arizona State which enters this game with a 7-1 record. The early schedule has been extremely favorable for the Sun Devils who have played six of their first eight games at Wells Fargo Arena. Currently the Sun Devils have won three straight games, all at home, to move to 6-0 when hosting. This matchup is the fourth in a season-long six-game road trip.
In four previous meetings, Arizona State has come out the victor each time. The last matchup was during the 2004-05 season when the Sun Devils escaped with a 67-66 victory in Tempe.
CS-Northridge didn't get much of a challenge from NAIA foe Vanguard last time out as the Matadors rolled to a 120-69 victory. The Matadors shot an impressive 67.2 percent in the game and hit 10-of-16 shots from beyond the arc. The Matadors also had a massive 49-25 edge on the boards while assisting on 32 of 47 total field goals. Six different players scored in double figures led by Stephan Hicks who had a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Points have come in bunches for CS-Northridge during its hot start. The Matadors are scoring 81.2 points per game which is the 15th best mark in the country. The Matadors are assisting on 15.9 field goals per game and shooting at a respectable 45.1 percent from the field. Defensive pressure has not been as forthcoming but the Matadors have managed to outscore opponents by a +7.8 margin. That combination of Hicks and Stephen Maxwell has powered the Matadors' offensive attack this season. Hicks (18.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg) has been particularly impressive with his scoring and rebounding. Hicks has managed to shoot at an impressive 53.8 percent from the field as well. Maxwell (13.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg) is about as strong a second option as one could ask for as he is connecting on 56.3 percent of his shots. Josh Greene (13.2 ppg, 5.2 apg) is also scoring in double figures, while running the point.
Jahii Carson's impressive start to his freshman season continued when Arizona State dropped Hartford 71-63 in the Sun Devils' last outing. Carson dropped in 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting, while also dishing out seven assists and collecting five rebounds. As a team the Sun Devils shot 56.3 percent in the game but were outscored 36-18 from beyond the arc.
Carson has certainly not played like a freshman. The 5-foot-10 guard is scoring a team-high 18.2 points per game, while shooting an even 50.0 percent from the field. Carson has also taken on a leadership role in running the offense by handing out 5.2 assists per game. Carrick Felix (15.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is a swingman that can score from anywhere on the court with alarming frequency as he shoots 59.0 percent overall. Evan Gordon (10.8 ppg) teams with Carson in the backcourt, while hulking center Jordan Bachynski (10.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.9 bpg) patrols the interior. As a team, the Sun Devils are scoring 78.1 points per game and shooting a solid 47.1 percent from the floor. Arizona State has been even more dominant than the Matadors on the defensive end of the floor, as the Sun Devils shoot 10 percentage points better than their opponents while owning a +11.9 scoring margin.
Arizona State has bee ignited this season thanks to Carson. With the added depth on the roster the Sun Devils will be a handful for any team this season let alone a CS-Northridge squad that is playing at a level it has not been at in years.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 79, Cal State-Northridge 72
12/08 10:37:18 ET