Bradley (4-1) at Arizona State (4-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (10,754) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Bradley 4-0, ASU 3-0. Away Record: Bradley 0-1, ASU 1-0. Neutral Record: Bradley 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: Bradley 0-0, ASU 0-0. Series Record: Tied 1-1.
GAMES NOTES: Jahii Carson and the Arizona State Sun Devils will look to keep an impressive start going on Friday when they host the Bradley Braves in a non-league matchup at Wells Fargo Arena.
With four wins and just a single blemish through their first five games, the Braves have also been enjoying strong early returns on the season. The Braves did lose in their most recent outing, falling in Champaign against Illinois by an 81-55 final score. The loss came in the Braves' first road game of the year. The Braves were just 4-10 on the road last year but they will play host in their next two outings beginning against Texas-Pan American.
Four challengers have stepped up and none have been able to take down the Sun Devils. The most recent attempt was made by UNLV. The Sun Devils were able to pull out an 86-80 victory on the road over the Runnin' Rebels thanks to a career-night from Carson. The first three wins of the year for Arizona State came at the Wells Fargo Arena, where the Sun Devils will be yet again on Monday in a tough test against Marquette.
These teams met twice during the 1960s and split the two decisions. There were no meetings prior and there have been none since.
Despite 21 points from Tyshon Pickett, there wasn't a whole lot of offense to be found for Bradley in its loss to Illinois. The Braves connected on just 35.6 percent of their shots from the field, including a meager 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.
Prior to their rout at the hands of the Fighting Illini, the Braves had been doing just fine offensively. The Braves are shooting at a 47.7 percent clip on the year even after the paltry performance against Illinois, while netting 73.8 points per game. Pickett (14.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg) has been an integral part of the offensive success, as one of four players scoring in double figures. Pickett is also extremely valuable as the team's leading rebounders, though he is one of two players bringing in eight or more rebounds per game. Walt Lemon Jr (15.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) is leading the team in scoring and also finding time to be the main facilitator for the Braves as well. Auston Barnes (11.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg) joins Pickett to form a strong frontcourt, while Omari Grier adds more scoring depth.
On Tuesday, while Marcus Smart was rolling over Memphis on the other side of the country, Carson was busy dealing out his own damage against the Runnin' Rebels. Carson scored a career-high 40 points in the victory, which required a 55.6 percent shooting effort from the Sun Devils in the final 20 minutes.
Carson (24.0 ppg, 5.5 apg) has picked up right where he left off after an impressive freshman season last year. The 5-foot-10 guard has scored at least 18 points in every game this season and is shooting an impressive 57.4 percent from the field. His efforts have been crucial for the Sun Devils, who are averaging 90 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting. Carson hasn't been doing it entirely by himself though, as he is getting plenty of help from Jermaine Marshall (18.5 ppg) and Jordan Bachynski (13.8 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 4.2 bpg). Marshall is Carson's running mate in the backcourt and is coming off a 20-point showing against UNLV. Bachynski is one of the best shot-blockers in the country and he showed that with four blocks to go with 17 points and 15 boards against UNLV. It was his fourth double-double in as many games this season.
Slowing down Carson is the only way to stop Arizona State. Unfortunately for the Braves, they do not have the personnel to complete that job.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 88, Bradley 68
11/22 10:35:37 ET