Oregon Preview

The heartbreak continues for the Arizona State Sun Devils (6-16, 0-11) after a tough weekend at home against Washington and Washington State. ASU will hit the road to face the #13 Oregon Ducks (19-4, 7-4) on Thursday still searching for their first win in Pac-10 play.

The Sun Devils and Ducks played a close game in their first meeting this season with the favored Ducks getting a scare from the Devils, winning 60-55. In that game, senior PG Aaron Brooks was the savior for Oregon as he scored 16 points and hit the clinching free throws as the game winded down. Junior G Bryce Taylor also poured in 16 while Jeff Pendergraph led ASU with 18.

Both Arizona State and Oregon are coming off weekend sweeps with USC and UCLA both beating Oregon in Los Angeles and the Sun Devils were swept at home by the Washington schools. The losses were especially tough for the Sun Devils as they played two atrocious first halves and two spectacular second halves but couldn't stage a big enough comeback in either game to come out victorious. Against Washington, the Sun Devils spotted the Huskies a 23-point lead at the half only to claw back to within 3 at one point before losing 66-61. Against Washington State, ASU held the Cougars to only 12 points in the second half but still lost 48-47.

Head Coach Ernie Kent

Projected Starters

G – Aaron Brooks – (18.7 PPG, 5.0 APG)
G – Bryce Taylor – (15.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG)
G – Tajuan Porter – (12.8 PPG, 92% FT)
F – Malik Hairston – (12.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG)
F – Maarty Leunen – (11.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG)

Impact Reserves

G – Chamberlain Oguchi
G – Churchill Odia
F – Adam Zahn
F – Joevan Catron


It is safe to say that absolutely no one saw this train coming. The Oregon Ducks are ranked 13th in the nation and are sitting on 19 wins in early February. This was the year that Ernie Kent was supposed to be fired because his teams had disappointed so much and two of the biggest recruits in the 2007 class hailed from Oregon and neither will be a Duck next season. Instead, Coach Kent has used his teams speed and athleticism and Brooks' leadership and Oregon has been one of the best teams in the country so far.

The team's heart and soul is Brooks, the engine that makes the team run, he is a considered a candidate for National Player of the Year honors and deservedly so. Not only are his stats impressive, his clutch shooting has been the difference in big wins for the Ducks over UCLA and Arizona as well Arizona State in their first meeting. Bryce Taylor and Malik Hairston are the other scoring threats that the Ducks bring to the table. Taylor has come into his own this season and has really improved his outside shooting. Hairston is coming back to full strength from an injury that sidelined him for almost a month and he has picked up where he left off giving the Ducks another very dangerous weapon. Little freshman Tajuan Porter has cooled off since the start of the season but he is still a flashy player that has no problem hitting the open shot and spreading the defense. Lone starting big man Leunen has been incredible for Oregon thus far nearly averaging a double-double per game.

Oregon's depth has been a question mark in the last few weeks and the Sun Devils look to exploit that on Thursday. Junior Chamberlain Oguchi has been streaky all season long and Coach Kent never knows what he will get out of him. Senior Adam Zahn and sophomore Churchill Odia will often spell Leunen or one of the guards to give the Ducks a bigger lineup. Freshman Joevan Catron has been a guy who picks up more minutes each and every game and he is an athletic forward that creates match-up problems.


Oregon is one of the fastest teams in the nation and have given every team they have faced a lot of trouble. In their first meeting, ASU had trouble with Brooks and Taylor in the first half but adjusted well in the second half and really limited their looks. Brooks is one of the best in the business and will find ways to be successful no matter what. If the Sun Devils do their best to contain him and focus on shutting down Taylor and Porter, there is a possibility that ASU can be successful. Derek Glasser and Christian Polk continue to improve while fellow freshman Jerren Shipp has really struggled of late.

Edge – Oregon


The Ducks are thrilled to have Hairston back in the lineup because he is a big guard that can rebound and score in the paint when called upon. An interesting match-up to watch in this game will be Hairston going against Allen Morill. Morill has been playing the best basketball of his career in the last few weeks and he could have a tremendous impact on this game. If Morill can continue to make great hustle plays and get big rebounds, he will be a factor. Hairston is a great shooter with unlimited range but the way the Devils have been playing defensively, he will not get too many open looks from deep.

Slight Edge – Oregon


Maarty Leunen is a fantastic big man and has had a sensational season to date but he will have his hands full with Jeff Pendergraph. Pendergraph was huge against Wazzu with 18 of team's 47 points and he is the heart of the team. As is always the case, if Pendergraph can stay out of foul trouble and find his stroke on the perimeter, he will give the Sun Devils a chance to make this a close game.

Slight Edge – Arizona State

Final Score – Oregon – 68 Arizona State - 59

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