(7) Arizona (15-1) at Arizona State (14-3)|
Saturday, January 19, 2:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (10,734) -- Tempe, Arizona.
Television: FSN. Home Record: Arizona 9-0, Arizona St. 11-1. Away Record:
Arizona 3-1, Arizona St. 2-1. Neutral Record: Arizona 3-0, Arizona St. 1-1.
Conference Record: Arizona 3-1, Arizona St. 3-1. Series Record: Arizona leads,
GAME NOTES: The seventh-ranked Arizona Wildcats close out a three-game road
trip on Saturday afternoon, as they take on rival Arizona State in a key
Pac-12 battle at the Wells Fargo Center.
Sean Miller's Wildcats are an impressive 15-1 on the season, but the one
blemish took place last week against Oregon in Eugene. The team was able to
get some distance between itself and that loss, posting an 80-70 win at Oregon
State two days later. With the win over the Beavers, Arizona is now 3-1 in
conference play, looking up at a few undefeated squads.
Herb Sendek's Sun Devils are certainly capable of playing for the conference
crown this season, coming into this contest at an impressive 14-3 overall.
Arizona State also suffered a setback at Oregon (68-65) last week, halting a
six-game win streak. The Sun Devils are also 3-1 in league play and 11-1 at
home this season.
This marks the 223rd all-time meeting in this longstanding rivalry. The
Wildcats own a 142-80 series advantage. Arizona State has won seven of the
last 11 meetings in the series, including the final meeting last year in Tempe
A 15-4 run spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second
provided the Wildcats with the necessary breathing room to capture a 10-point
win over Oregon State in Corvallis. Arizona connected on 47.5 percent from the
floor overall and hit 10 3-pointers in the game. Four Wildcats notched double
figures in the win, led by Mark Lyons and Solomon Hill with 16 points apiece.
Nick Johnson and Brandon Ashley played vital roles as well, chipping in with
14 and 12 points, respectively.
Arizona can win games at either end of the floor, depending on what the
opposition does. The Wildcats are shooting a solid. 463 overall, which has led
to a steady 76.1 ppg. UA is also enjoying a +9.6 rebounding edge and is
holding opponents to a mere 61.9 ppg. Three of the five starters are averaging
double-figure scoring, led by Lyons' 14.6 ppg. Hill (13.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and
Johnson (12.3 ppg) follow close behind.
The Sun Devils employ a balanced attack with strong playmaking ability in the
backcourt and a dominant low post presence as well. Freshman guard Jahii
Carson has made an immediate impact in Tempe this season, showing the ability
to both score at will (17.1 ppg) and get others involved (5.2 apg). The 5-
foot-10 youngster has converted more free throws (75) than anyone else on the
team has even attempted. Senior forward Carrick Felix (15.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and
junior center Jordan Bachynski (10.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are a formidable duo up
front. A 7-footer, Bachynski is one of the nation's premier shot-blockers,
leading the Pac-12 and ranking third nationally with 4.5 blocks per game.
Carson led all scorers with 20 points, while Evan Gordon poured in 17, but it
wasn't enough, as ASU dropped a 3-point decision to the red-hot Ducks last
weekend. Felix was able to post 12 points in the loss, but Bachynski was held
in check for the most part, finishing with eight points, six rebounds and
three blocks. Oregon was able to hold a slight edge on the boards overall
(32-29) and outscored the Sun Devils at the free-throw line, 14-5.
The Pac-12 is chock full of top-notch talent and it will be a frenzied dash to
the finish line. Winning games at home is a must the rest of the way and
behind the play of Carson, Felix and Bachynski, the Sun Devils could do
themselves a huge favor in winning an early showdown with the Wildcats.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 73, Arizona 71
01/19 10:30:55 ET