Colorado Preview

Don't look now but there are signs coming out of the Arizona State basketball program that despite winning just a third of the time, things very well might be improving. The team is getting healthier and players are improving – maybe, just maybe these guys will score an upset or two before the book closes on the 2011-12 season.

That upset might just come on Saturday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena when the Arizona State Sun Devils host the Colorado Buffaloes in a game that could completely kill Colorado's chances for the NCAA Tournament and help ASU finish the year on a positive note.

The first Pac-12 game that ASU ever played against Colorado was pretty forgettable. The Sun Devils lost by 15 points and no one had a good time. That's all – we don't live in the past here at Devils Digest.

Before we continue on, we should mention that these Sun Devils are coming in hot after beating Utah 57-52 on Thursday night with Trent Lockett returning to the lineup with 12 points and 7 boards while the invigorated Jordan Bachynski continued his stellar play with his first career double-double.

Colorado was able to hang with Arizona for the first 30 minutes, before falling in Tucson 71-57 last night.

Projected Starters:

G – Nate Tomlinson (5.7 PPG, 3.3 APG) vs. Chris Colvin (6.3 PPG, 3.4 APG)

G – Carlon Brown (12.8 PPG, 32% 3PT) vs. Carrick Felix (10.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG)

G – Spencer Dinwiddie (10.8 PPG, 44% 3PT) vs. Trent Lockett (13.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG)

F – Andre Roberson (11.2 PPG, 11.2 RPG) vs. Jonathan Gilling (5.9 PPG, 41% 3PT)

F – Austin Dufault (11.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG) vs. Jordan Bachynski (5.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG)


For the Buffaloes, the balance throughout the rotation is arguably their greatest strength with four starters averaging double-digit points and the team shoots over 70% from the free throw line as a team. While the big guys are solid, a lot of the production that contributes to the strong balance comes from their guards – Tomlinson running the point with Brown and Dinwiddie flanking him. Brown is a pure slasher that can be very streaky but is a very determined player with the ball and always finds a way to fill up the box score. Dinwiddie is a great shooter who is very efficient with the basketball. Off the bench are Askia Booker, sabatino chen and Jeremy Adams.

When everyone was hurt and suspended and ineligible, Trent Lockett was forced into playing point guard and he wasn't totally suited for the role but he really did start to grasp the position as each practice and game passed. Now that Chris Colvin is back and Lockett is healthy, ASU has the benefit of throwing out two players at the same time that are quite capable of running the offense. The other good news coming from Lockett's return are that Carrick Felix can relax a little bit and play like himself again as well as Chanse Creekmur coming off the bench where he is probably better suited.

Edge – Colorado


It doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you see Andre Roberson because you don't look at him and think he is the kind of guy that would be one of the nation's premier rebounders but the guy gets it done on the glass. Next to him down low is a bigger guy in Austin Dufault that actually is much less physical. This is the matchup that ASU can truly exploit if Bachynski can keep playing well. Post players coming off the pine are Shane Harris-Tunks and Damiene Cain.

Last time we wrote about this matchup, Ruslan Pateev was coming off a string of solid efforts and was starting to look like he might be the new man in the middle for the Sun Devils but that nice little buzz wore off quicker than we would have liked. Now we have Jordan Bachynski who looks like he might actually be putting it together. In his defense, the man did miss two years of basketball due to a mission and another year before that due to injury so he is just starting to show what he can do once the rust wears off and let's hope the new Bachynski is here to stay.

Edge - ASU

How ASU Wins

Oooooh, it's the Upset Special! Colorado has been thoroughly enjoying their first Pac-12 campaign but the wheels need to fall off. After getting embarrassed in the mountains in mid-January, the Devils started revenge week off with a boom by beating those pesky Utes but the cherry on top will be taking down the team that is nearly 1,100 miles away from the Pacific Ocean yet plays in the Pacific-12 conference. I'm thinking that everyone's favorite Danish Driller, Jonathan Gilling, will be the key player in this one as ASU wins its first back-to-back game this year.

Final Score – ASU 61 Colorado 59

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