Arizona Preview

The Arizona State Sun Devils (6-13, 0-8) haven't won in Tucson in 12 years and on Wednesday night; the Devils make their way down south to take on the 17t ranked Arizona Wildcats (13-5, 4-4) in ASU coach Herb Sendek's first crack at the unfortunate one-sided rivalry.

The Sun Devils come in still looking for their first conference win. The Wildcats are in a shocking slide of their own as they have lost three straight games and have a date with the North Carolina Tar Heels looming on Saturday. Arizona State returns back to the Grand Canyon State to continue a taxing road trip. Last week they were swept by UCLA and USC in two close games in which ASU played fantastic defense but was done in by their inability to create open looks and couldn't score on a consistent basis.

The Wildcats are still nationally ranked but this season has been a disappointment thus far. Once expected to contend with UCLA for the Pac-10 regular season title, the Cats have been exposed on the defensive end, their cold shooting streaks, and lack of bench play.

Head Coach – Lute Olson – (24th season, 1057-372 Career)

Projected Starters

PG – Mustafa Shakur – (14.5 PPG, 7.6 APG)
SG – Jawann McClellan – (11.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG)
SF – Marcus Williams – (18.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG)
PF – Chase Budinger – (15.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
C – Ivan Radenovic – (16.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG)

Impact Reserves

G – Daniel Dillon
G – Nic Wise
F – Jordan Hill


This rivalry has been all Arizona the last two decades. Winners of 22 of the last 23 matchups and not having lost in Tucson to ASU since a triple overtime game in 1995, says it all. The fact the Sun Devils are in a complete rebuilding mode this season while U of A is seething over three straight losses, the Sun Devils may be in for a long night at the McKale Center. ASU, albeit still winless, have been playing their best basketball in a while and if Arizona continues their cold shooting woes and defensive lapses, anything is possible.

Although they have been shooting poorly and haven't been able to defend anyone, the Cats are scoring at a torrid pace averaging 84 points a game with 4 players averaging more than 14 a contest. To put it in different terms, ASU's leading scorer Jeff Pendergraph (13.8 PPG) would be the 5th leading scorer for Arizona. Leading the way for Arizona is sophomore F Marcus Williams. After flirting with the notion of entering the NBA Draft last season, Williams has returned and been arguably the most potent offensive force in the Pac-10 this season.

Arizona's two senior leaders, Shakur and Radenovic are each having career years as well. Shakur has delegated the scoring duties to others while dishing the ball and scoring on fast breaks and open 3's and Radenovic has finally learned to step inside and start crashing the offensive glass and it's paying dividends. Finally, the freshman phenom Budinger is still getting his feet wet but is playing very well for a true freshman.

Ironically, the biggest weakness for Arizona State is also the biggest weakness for Arizona and that would be their depth. The Wildcats starters all average over 32 minutes a game and their bench has been inconsistent on both ends of the floor all season. Dillon gets over ten minutes a game and might be the best defender on the team. Wise and Hill are both freshman and both are used to get the starters rest but have had trouble making major contributions while on the floor.


Mustafa Shakur is one the finest leaders in the nation. Jawann McClellan is a very streaky shooter but when his shots are falling, his range is unlimited. Wise and Dillon are solid guards and stout defenders that can create problems for ASU's youthful backcourt. Derek Glasser has been very productive in conference play and has not backed down to any of the Pac-10's best point guards. If Christian Polk and Jerren Shipp limit their mistakes and make open shots when they get them, they can keep the Sun Devils in the game.

Solid Edge – Arizona


They may be young but they are two of the best young players in college basketball. Marcus Williams and Chase Budinger are both still improving as each game passes and they will be a nightmare for ASU to figure out. Serge Angounou has struggled and Allen Morill has replaced him in the lineup but whoever is on the floor will have a monumental task at hand. Both Williams and Budinger are big and athletic and that will be difficult for ASU to stop.

Huge Edge – Arizona


Ivan Radenovic has expanded his game this season and he's no longer just mid-range offensive threat. He has put on muscle and has been rebounding and scoring in the paint much more than in years past and is the most improved Wildcat this season. ASU will counter with Pendergraph, the Pac-10's leader in field goal percentage (67%) and if he can stay out of foul trouble and keep Radenovic in check, the Sun Devils may be able to capitalize.

Edge – Even

Final Score – Arizona 77 Arizona State 62

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