Oregon Preview

On New Year's Day Arizona State (7-5) will meet Oregon (7-6) for the last contest to ever be played at Mac court. After Thursday's respective results both squads are naturally hoping to begin 2011 on a much better note than the way 2010 culminated.

ASU was humiliated by Oregon State 80-58. The Beavers snapped a six-game losing streak to the Sun Devils with some torrid shooting in the second half (58.1 percent) scoring 46 points in that period, and overall dominating the battle of the boards 41-23 collecting 14 offensive caroms on the night. Ty Abbott led ASU with 18 points but was held scoreless in the second half.

Oregon didn't fair much better themselves as they were trounced by Arizona 76-57. In coach Dana Altman's Pac-10 debut the Ducks shot just 34.8 percent from the field and trailed by double digits the entire second half. Much like ASU, Oregon suffered from a porous defense allowing the Wildcats to shoot at a 55.6 percent clip from the field and get out rebounded 40-27. Junior Jeremy Jacob had a breakout performance with 17 points.

Head Coach:

Dana Altman (416-249) vs. Herb Sendek (337-218) Projected Starters:

G – Malcolm Armstead (7.1 PPG, 3.6 APG) vs. Jamelle McMillan (6.5 PPG, 4.8 APG)

G – Jay-R Stowbridge (8.2 PPG, 25% 3PT) vs. Ty Abbott (13.3 PPG, 36% 3PT)

G – Garrett Sim (7.0 PPG, 25% 3PT) vs. Trent Lockett (14.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG)

F – E.J. Singler (11.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG) vs. Rihards Kuksiks (10.6 PPG, 38% 3PT)

F – Joevan Catron (16.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG) vs. Kyle Cain (8.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG)

Backcourt

The Ducks are relatively small in the backcourt with all three starters hovering around the 6-foot mark but they are an athletic group led by Armstead. A heady PG with blazing speed, Armstead is a very good playmaker who can create on his own and feeds his big men well. Next to him are a couple wild cards. Stowbridge is a diminutive player with good tools but has struggled with his shot in the first part of the season. Sim is an experienced player who does a lot of things well. His shot has also eluded him in the early going. Off the pine for the Ducks in the backcourt are Jonathan Loyd and Teondre Williams. All the guards in the Oregon rotation are quick and can push the tempo.

ASU has an offense that relies on good ball movement and strong outside shooting; with McMillan leading the charge and getting the ball into the hands of Abbott and Lockett – the offense goes as they go. Abbott will likely jump to 23rd on ASU's all-time scoring list with a good performance and interestingly enough, he has never had a big game against the Ducks so he's just about due for a big night. Lockett will look to continue his hot streak and create opportunities for himself and others when he puts the ball on the floor. Off the bench, expect to see Brandon Dunson relieve McMillan while Keala King and Carrick Felix will get some run as well.

Edge – ASU

Frontcourt

He has seemingly been in Eugene forever but Joevan Catron is back from injury and playing as well as any big man in the country. A wide presence in the paint, Catron can overpower smaller defenders and has shown a soft touch in the paint and at the free throw line. Next to him is a smaller guy but nearly just as productive in Singler. A good rebounder and accurate perimeter shooter, Kyle's brother is very dangerous.

At the beginning of the year, there were questions about who was going to play down low after the Devils lost Jeff Pendergraph and Eric Boateng in consecutive seasons. It started with Ruslan Pateev getting the starts but he looked choppy on both ends and found himself in foul trouble consistently. That's when Cain started seeing more action and he hasn't looked back. A solid rebounder with good knack for getting buckets in the paint, Cain may be undersized but that hasn't limited his production one bit. Kuksiks is the other starting forward and his shooting abilities will stretch the defense and open the lane up for Cain and Lockett to pick up second-chance points.

ASU will bring in Pateev and the newly engaged Jordan Bachynski to relieve Cain while Chanse Creekmur will be Kuksiks understudy.

Edge – Oregon

X-Factor

Rebounding. It's no secret that Herb Sendek's staple is defense, defense, and more defense. Now, going in hand in hand with the defensive aspect is rebounding. Aside from Kyle Cain, this team has struggled to rebound on a consistent basis and the second-chance points have really hurt them at times. Going up against a team whose primary strength is their post play, the Devils will need to block out well and clean up on the glass on the defensive end to dictate the tempo of the game.

Who Will Win and Why

This is a team who has already gotten accustomed to being away from home and playing in tough environments; that will help immensely as the Devils will look to close out the weekend with a victory over Oregon. As the newcomers get acquainted to Pac-10 basketball, the veterans will carry ASU to a victory.

Final Score: Arizona State 62 Oregon 54


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