Jacksonville (19-12) at Arizona State (22-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 16th, 11:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells-Fargo Arena (14,088) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: ESPN2. NIT Tournament Record: Jacksonville 5-6, ASU 5-10. Series Record: Arizona State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils and Jacksonville Dolphins duke it out tonight in the first round of the 2010 NIT at Wells-Fargo Arena in Tempe. The winner of this contest will take on either Seton Hall or Texas Tech in the next stage.
The Sun Devils competed for a Pac-10 title this season, but came up short and then were quickly sent home from the league tourney. At 22-10 overall, ASU still didn't have enough to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, so it had to settle for an appearance in the NIT. The Sun Devils, who are the top seed in their region, are making their 11th appearance in the NIT, where they own a 5-10 all-time mark.
Jacksonville meanwhile, captured a share of the Atlantic Sun regular season title and earned the conference's automatic bid to the NIT after losing in the league tourney. The Dolphins are making their sixth all-time appearance in the NIT and second in as many years.
This is just the second meeting between ASU and Jacksonville, with the Sun Devils cruising to a 111-69 triumph in 1996.
The Dolphins are netting 70.0 ppg for the season mainly because of the outstanding play of Ben Smith. A 5-10 guard, Smith is a terrific scorer with an average of 19.7 ppg and he also dishes off a team-high 3.7 to show his unselfishness. Lehmon Colbert provides some help for Smith with 12.2 ppg and he is also the team's leading rebounder, pulling in 6.8 rpg. A third option for Jacksonville is Travis Cohn, who chips in with 8.9 ppg.
The Sun Devils are a stingy group, as they are holding opponents to a mere 58.5 ppg and just 40.1 percent shooting from the field. Offensively, Ty Abbott paces the squad with 11.9 ppg and he shoots 40.8 percent from long range. Rihards Kuksiks, a 37.6 three-point shooter, is hot on the heels of Abbot with 11.8 ppg and Derek Glasser follows with 10.3 ppg. Glasser is also in charge of running the show, distributing a team-high 4.8 apg.
Behind the support of its home crowd and its stingy defense, expect ASU to come out on top against Jacksonville tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 70, Jacksonville 51
03/16 10:47:11 ET