Having twice as many wins as losses on the season is relatively impressive.
When it's March, that is.
Unfortunately for Arizona State it's still December and that 4-2 record on the year comes gift wrapped with four home victories against competition that shouldn't be, and road losses to two major conference teams -- Nebraska and Northwestern -- expected to finish at or near the bottom of their conferences respectively.
Be it inexperience, a lack of chemistry or simply a team that isn't particularly replete with talent, the Sun Devils have played more to the level anticipated by the West Coast media than the expectations of many within to the program who, coincidentally, scoffed at those predictions.
A plan to implement a "40 Minutes of Hell" defense has seemingly fallen by the wayside. Instead, in six games straight to start the season it's appeared as though Arizona State has favored 20-minute first-half powernaps only to be awakened with a start; heart-racing comeback attempts have failed twice.
Now it's time to regroup against McNeese State (3-5) in a game that should prove to be another stocking-stuffer home victory for Arizona State. The Cowboys of Lake Charles (LA) have lost four straight, including games at Centenary, Louisiana-Lafayette and George Mason and have yet to win a road game this season.
If you're anything like me, you probably didn't know precisely where McNeese State was located or even the name of its mascot. You may even know what conference the Cowboys play in (Southland). You probably couldn't name one player on the roster and have never seen any of them play. And that's fine. It doesn't matter – or at least it shouldn't.
In this preview you're not going to be reading about how Arizona State matches up against a team I've never seen, either live or on tape, or even read about, beyond a quick overview. The names on the back of the opponents' jerseys mean even less than the name on the front.
This game is all about Arizona State. It's about a team searching for an identity, some cohesion. It's about a team that hasn't yet learned how to play team defense or protect against giving up offensive rebounds. It's about fining someone else besides Ike Diogu and Steve Moore capable of putting the ball in the basket on a consistent basis. It's about generating court minutes for players who may need to be called upon at a later date.
It's about effort. It's about having fun.
It's about slapping floors, bumping chests, waiving towels, and chants of "We want Goldman."
It's about time. Don't you think?
Prediction: Arizona State 87 McNeese State 66
McNeese State Preview
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