Stanford Preview

Arizona State will be riding high as they head back to Tempe, after defeating the Arizona Wildcats. This marked the first time since the 1994-1995 season that they were able to accomplish a sweep of their rivals. However, the Sun Devils will have know time for celebration as the 7th ranked Stanford Cardinal come to town on Thursday.

Stanford is coming off a sweep of the Oregon schools at home for the 15th straight season. They were also able to jump into a tie for the lead in the Pac-10, after UCLA lost on Sunday. Their victory on Saturday against Oregon State gave them 20 wins on the season, which is the first time in four seasons they have accomplished this level of play. Leading the way for the Cardinal was local product and former teammate of Christian Polk, Lawrence Hill. He averaged 15 PPG in the sweep and has continued to improve as the season has progressed.

The Sun Devils were able to snap their five-game loosing streak on Sunday in what could be have been the most impressive display of Coach Sendek's offense since he arrived in Tempe. The Princeton Offensive was run perfectly for most of the game by the Devils, as they were able to pick apart the Wildcats low post. With James Harden under the weather, Jeff Pendergraph was able to step up his game. He put in a career-high 29 points along with eight rebounds.

Head Coach Trent Johnson

Projected Starters

PG – Mitch Johnson (6.7 PPG, 4.7 APG)
F – Fred Washington (5.4 PPG, 4.5 RPG)
F – Lawrence Hill (9.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG)
F – Brook Lopez (18.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG)
C – Robin Lopez (8.9 PPG, 5.7 PPG)

Impact Reserves

G – Anthony Goods
G – Landry Fields

F – Taj Finger

Overview

The last time these two teams met up was at Maples Pavilion and the Sun Devils were undefeated in the Pac-10. Through the first 20 minutes of the game, Arizona State had a 10-point lead and looked like they could pull off the win in a tough environment. However, with Jeff Pendergraph in foul trouble for most of the second half, the Cardinal were able to pull away and post a 67-52 victory. Brook Lopez took full advantage of Pendergraph sitting on the bench, putting in 19 points. He also added 16 rebounds with eight being on the offensive end.

Guards

You will not see too many turnovers coming from this position during the game. Both Mitch Johnson and Derek Glasser do an incredible job holding onto the ball. The Cardinal have been going with a bigger look starting just one guard lately, Mitch Johnson. His 2.14 assist to turnover ratio is third in the Pac-10 behind Glasser at 3.21. Recently, Anthony Goods has been coming off the bench. He is the team's second leading scorer and one of their best three-point shooters. Landry Fields will also see some playing time and at 6-7 will be a definite size mismatch for the Devils. For the Sun Devils, Ty Abbott has continued to struggle and will need to find his stoke and stay out of foul trouble.

Slight Edge – Stanford

Forwards

Stanford is at a definite height advantage when Brook Lopez and Lawrence Hill are playing next to Robin Lopez. Brook Lopez absolutely dominated ASU last time they met earlier this season. Hill and Lopez combined for 11 offensive rebounds and 14 second chance points between the two of them. If then Devils want to keep this game close, they are going to need to prevent that from happening again. James Harden, who was sick on Sunday, will need to use his athleticism and drive to the hoop to try and draw fouls. The only way for ASU to stay in this game is to get Brook Lopez in early foul trouble, as they did against Jordan Hill. Edge - Stanford

Centers

Robin Lopez is just as tall as his brother, but not yet on the same skill level on the offensive end. Conversely, he is a force on the defensive side of the ball averaging 2.17 blocks per game, good for second in the conference. Jeff Pendergraph is coming off the best game of his career. As was shown last game against Stanford, it is imperative that he stays out of foul trouble. Without Pendergraph on the court, ASU will be in a huge hole. Solid Edge – ASU

X – Factor

Stanford: Offensive rebounds. They average 14 offensive RPG and if they can do that against ASU, they will be in good shape to win. ASU: Jeff Pendergraph. The Sun Devils need his presence down low and cannot afford to loose him to foul trouble. If he can put up to same minutes he did on Sunday, ASU will be able to stay close.

Final Score – Stanford 62 Arizona State 59

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