Arizona Preview

It's been an ugly season for Herb Sendek and his boys as injuries and close losses have been the formula for a nine-game conference losing streak. The Arizona State Sun Devils will look to nip that streak in the bud as they play host to their archrival the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday evening at Wells Fargo Arena.

ASU was swept in the Bay Area after two tightly matched battles ended out of their favor. Against Cal, the Devils led by 6 late in the second half before Cal surged to the win when ASU couldn't find a way to score in the waning minutes opening the door for the Golden Bears. Against Stanford, ASU wouldn't go away as they kept within striking distance the entire second half before they simply ran out of time. Lockett averaged 16 points over the weekend while McMillan averaged 15.5 in those same two contests.

Arizona had a bit of a better weekend than the Devils as they went the other direction and swept Stanford and Cal. Opening against Stanford, the Wildcats relinquished their lead for a brief period early in the second half before storming back to take a lead they would never give back. Derrick Williams finished with 21 points and 8 boards and MoMo Jones poured in 15 points of his own.

The second game of the weekend was one of the games of the year not only in the Pac-10 but the entire country. It took three overtime periods before Arizona prevailed 107-105. Williams was quieter with just 12 points and 18 rebounds while fouling out before the real excitement began. Jones had a career-high 27 points and Kevin Parrom had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists off the bench.

Head Coach: Sean Miller vs. Herb Sendek

Projected Starters:

G – MoMo Jones (9.8 PPG, 2.4 APG) vs. Jamelle McMillan (7.0 PPG, 3.9 APG)

G – Kyle Fogg (7.9 PPG, 2.8 APG) vs. Ty Abbott (13.1 PPG, 40% 3PT)

G/F – Solomon Hill (8.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG) vs. Trent Lockett (14.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG)

F – Jesse Perry (6.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG) vs. Rihards Kuksiks (9.9 PPG, 39% 3PT)

F – Derrick Williams (19.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG) vs. Kyle Cain (5.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG)

Backcourt –

MoMo Jones is turning into one of the most explosive point guards in the country and his improved game is one of the biggest reasons Arizona has surprised many as they have taken control of the Pac-10 this season. Next to him in the backcourt is Kyle Fogg, who is the kind of guy who seems to knock down every open shot he takes against the Devils. Brendon Lavender and Jordin Mayes are first off the bench to spell Jones and Fogg.

What may be a hint of things starting to turn in the right direction, McMillan is playing the best basketball of his career right now and if he can start getting other guys to follow suit, the offense might just get on track for the first time this season. Ty Abbott and Trent Lockett still remain the best offensive threats and Abbott's strained back against Stanford definitely didn't make life easier for ASU and his health remains in question even this week leading up to this game.

Lockett continues to impress as he has become the go-to guy when the Devils need to get back into it. Off the pine, Keala King is starting to get more minutes while Marcus Jackson, Chanse Creekmur and Corey Hawkins will all get time as well.

Edge – Even

Frontcourt –

It's the Derrick Williams show for the Wildcats with Jesse Perry, Kevin Parrom, Kyryl Natyazkho, and Jamelle Horne all playing alongside him down low. Williams is impressive both inside and out with an improved shooting touch that has really opened up his game and wreaked havoc on his opponents.

For ASU, Kyle Cain is starting to pick his game up after struggling in conference play after dominating the boards in the early going. Jordan Bachynski is also playing really well of late and is giving the Devils an inside scoring option for the first time this season. Starting at the other post position is Kuksiks, a fantastic shooter whose inconsistency has been maddening to stomach this season. Spelling relief for Kuksiks is Carrick Felix, a high flyer who is a nice spark off the bench when buckets are at a premium.

Edge – Arizona

X-Factor

Rivalry Games. It's one of those weird things in sports where records never seem to matter in rivalry games because no matter how much better one team is sometimes, the games are often closer than the records may indicate. This is the type of game that can save an otherwise disastrous season. The home crowd and a team due for a win could be the right combo for the upset.

Who Will Win and Why

Arizona is a better team in just about all aspects. First place in the Pac-10 vs. Last Place in the Pac-10? Shouldn't be a contest. But let's get frisky. The Sun Devils behind a big night from Trent Lockett and Jordan Bachynski will pull off the shocker.

Final Score – ASU 68 Arizona 65


Sun Devil Source Top Stories