Washington Preview

Back to .500 in the conference, ASU (15-5, 4-4) now faces the Pac 10 favorite Washington Huskies (16-3, 6-2) at in a CBS broadcasted game at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday. DevilsDigest.com previews the UW Huskies.


Head Coach: Lorenzo Romar (3rd year)
Assistants: Ken Bone, Cameron Dollar, Jim Shaw

Projected Starters

G Nate Robinson 5-9 180 Jr. (26.7 pts, 4.3 rebs, 5.2 asst)
G Will Conroy 6-2 195 Sr. (9.5 pts, 6.5 asst)
G Tre Simmons 6-5 200 Sr. (16.8 pts, 5.9 rebs, 50.7% 3-pt)
F Bobby Jones 6-6 215 Jr. (11.6 pts, 5.6 rebs, 2.0 asst)
F Mike Jensen 6-8 240 Jr. (7.4 pts, 4.9 rebs)

Impact Reserves

G Joel Smith 6-4 205 Fr. (5.3 pts, 46.2% 3-pt)
G Brandon Roy 6-6 215 Jr. (12.7 pts, 3.4 rebs, 58.5% FG)
F Jamaal Williams 6-5 225 Jr. (11.3 pts, 4.8 rebs, 57.5% FG)
C Hakim Rollins 6-7 245 Sr. (3.6 pts, 2.5 rebs)

Everything that the Devils practiced for the WSU game must quickly be tossed aside and forgotten. The Huskies are polar opposites of the Cougars.

First, the Huskies are an experienced team, only relying on one freshman for any sort of significant contribution. Second, UW wants to get into an up-and-down game that resembles a track meet as much as a hoops game. Finally, they have five players averaging in double figures, including two reserves, instead of the two that the Cougs brought to town.

What all of this means is that the roles will be reversed for ASU on Sunday. Instead of trying to pick up the pace of the game, the Devils will want to slow it down against the 7th highest scoring team in the country (88.1 pts/game). Additionally, instead of focusing on playing tough defense deep into the shot clock, the Devils will have to really concentrate on their transition defense and finding their man on the fast break. The Huskies will not waste much time before putting up their shots.

In order to slow the game down, the Devils will want to get the ball inside to Ike Diogu as much as possible. The one weakness of the Huskies is that they are not very deep inside. If Ike can get a couple of their big men in foul trouble, it could mean that players that don't usually see significant playing time will have to step up against the All-American candidate. Furthermore, we may see more of the zone that kept Oregon off balance in an effort to counteract the great quickness and penetration skills of the Dawgs.

As always with ASU, this game will come down to defense. ASU can score. They are averaging over 70 points per game; so putting points on the board is not usually an issue. The question game in, game out is whether the team will decide to play defense.

One thing is for sure going to happen on Sunday – UW's talented backcourt is going to put pressure on ASU's team defense. They will get in the lane and the ability of the Devils to rotate and communicate will be critical if the Sun Devils want to stay in the game. Slow rotation will result in easy lay-ups for Nate Robinson and company all game long, which spells doom for the home team.

If ASU can defend, resist the temptation to run with the Huskies, and can patiently pound the ball inside to Diogu, they can hang around long enough to make the game interesting at the end; however, if the Devils let any of these areas slide, they will find themselves down double digits very quickly. Washington is an explosive team and ASU cannot afford many mental lapses if they want to have a chance to win.

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