Oregon Preview

The Arizona State Sun Devils (10-2) will open up the Pac-10 season at home against the high-flying Oregon Ducks (9-3) on Thursday night. The Sun Devils are hitting on all cylinders and have already surpassed the win total from a year ago and have won all eight contests in Wells Fargo Arena but Oregon and the rest of the Pac-10 will prove to be a horse of a different color for ASU.

The talented but young ASU squad will have their work cut out for them if they want to finish in the top half and contend for a postseason berth.

The Ducks are an up tempo team that lights up the scoreboard with an experienced roster. Led by senior leaders, forwards Malik Hairston and Maarty Leunen and the diminutive sophomore speedster Tajuan Porter, Oregon will push the ball up the floor and try to dictate the tempo as best they can to get an edge.

Head Coach Ernie Kent

Projected Starters

PG – Tajuan Porter – (15.0 PPG, 2.9 APG)
SG – Bryce Taylor – (13.8 PPG, 42% 3PT)
SF – Malik Hairston – (17.6 PPG, 53% 3PT)
PF – Joevan Catron – (10.8 PPG, 7.9 RPG)
C – Maarty Leunen – (15.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG)

Impact Reserves

G – Kamyron Brown
F – LeKendric Longmire
C – Frantz Dorsainvil

Overview

A year ago, Ernie Kent and his team surprised a lot of people by starting off hot and became a real player in the Pac-10 race and while they lost star point guard Aaron Brooks, they have remained a strong team with their emphasis on speed and perimeter shooting.

Guards

Containing Tajuan Porter will be a chore for the Sun Devils as he is dangerously quick and has plenty of shooting range. Aside from Porter, the Ducks have the extremely athletic Taylor who has given the Devils fits for a couple years with his slashing ability that complements his great shooting. Off the bench will be Brown who has gotten more minutes lately as a point guard and given Porter a chance to play on the wing. The Sun Devils will counter with heady sophomore point guard Derek Glasser and sharp shooting freshman Ty Abbott on the wing. The Devils have been most successful when Abbott has his stroke working.

Slight Edge – Oregon

Forwards

Malik Hairston is an undersized big man but he is a load to defend as he can shoot the lights out from long range and is also extremely physical and can bang down low. Word is that Joevan Catron will not play due to a torn ligament in his right foot. Kamyron Brown or Frantz Dorsainvil will get the nod in the starting lineupArizona State will battle back with a smaller lineup as Harden will be pitted against Hairston and Jerren Shipp has been seeing the most starts at the 4 spot in Herb Sendek's guard-happy system.

Solid Edge – Oregon

Center

Maarty Leunen is one of the most underappreciated players in the country and he will be a tough matchup for ASU. However, Jeff Pendergraph has really picked up his game in the last few weeks and is a big reason, along with James Harden, that the Sun Devils are off to their best start in years and will likely be able to find success against Leunen.

Slight Edge – Arizona State

Final Score – Oregon 68 Arizona State 63


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