Stanford Preview

Even in a mediocre Pac-10 season, Ty Abbott said it best when he told reporters that losing at home is simply unacceptable. The Arizona State Sun Devils have little room for error as they look to end their losing ways against the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday afternoon on Ned Wulk Court.

In the last couple of games, the Devils have been uncharacteristically lackadaisical on defense and both games have resulted in disappointing losses. After getting routed by Arizona, the Pac-10 leading Cal Bears came in and finished what the Wildcats had already begun with a 78-70 win. The Devils got a nice effort from Abbott and a career game from Boateng (19 pts, 13 rebs) but that wasn't enough to stop the balanced Bears scoring attack. Jamal Boykin led the way with 25 points for Cal.

Stanford is in the second year of the Johnny Dawkins Experiment and the results are improving but this is still a team that in rebuilding mode. The Cardinal lost in Tucson to a hot Arizona team and were never truly in reach as the game concluded. Landry Fields and Jeremy Green combined for 56 of the teams 68 points in the loss.

Projected Starters

G – Jarrett Mann – (6.5 PPG, 5.3 APG) vs. Derek Glasser (10.0 PPG, 5.0 APG)

G – Drew Shiller – (7.3 PPG, 41% 3PT) vs. Demetrius Walker (4.2 PPG, 36% 3PT)

G – Jeremy Green – (17.9 PPG, 41% 3PT) vs. Ty Abbott (10.6 PPG, 42% 3PT)

F – Landry Fields – (22.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG) vs. Rihards Kuksiks (12.7 PPG, 39% 3PT)

F – Jack Trotter – (6.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG) vs. Eric Boateng (7.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG)

Backcourt

Both teams run out similar rotations in that it is a very guard-oriented system. Stanford runs out Mann, Shiller, and Green. The gem of the group is Green, an explosive scorer who has really been one of the more underrated players in the country this season. Mann has been a solid PG who has done exactly what has been asked of him.

The numbers simply do not lie. Without Jamelle McMillan, this is not even close to a good team. With McMillan, the Devils allow less than 55 points per game and without him, that number spikes to over 70 points per game. The biggest loss this season hasn't been Duke, BYU, Baylor, or Arizona – it's been #10. Without McMillan, Glasser and Abbott remain while Walker and Trent Lockett share the lost minutes. Abbott's play has been great as of late but Glasser and the two freshmen have been too quiet.

Edge – ASU

Frontcourt

Before we get to the meat and potatoes, we should mention that Jack Trotter is a solid big man who has been thrust into major minutes after Josh Owens couldn't play. Next to Trotter is the Pac-10's best player – Landry Fields. Unassuming on physical appearance alone, Fields is an undersized forward that is tearing up the nets and rebounding with the best of them. His play is why Stanford is around .500. Without him, it would be very ugly.

It's a mixed bag for the Devils. Kuksiks and Boateng have been maddeningly inconsistent but both are showing signs of getting back on track and both of them are essential to the Devils success. While neither of them are elite defenders or rebounders, their offensive success and made shots parlay into a better chance of the matchup zone getting setup in time.

Edge - Stanford

X-Factor

Defense. Defense. Defense. For the first time in Sendek's tenure, ASU has allowed 70 points in consecutive games AND they have allowed opponents to shoot over 50% from the field. There is no Harden and Pendergraph to help ASU engage in shootouts and that just means that this team stands no chance to win games if their defense falters. The defense needs to get back to form and that will require a total team effort.

Who Will Win and Why

Coming into this home stand, the Devils were looking at a possible three-game sweep and at worst, taking a couple games. Now, they are staring at a home sweep and they need to do WHATEVER it takes to salvage at least one win. Stanford is a middle-of-the-road team that usually wouldn't stand a chance but the Devils are ice cold and also, the Pac-10 has shown that this season, it doesn't matter who you are or what you've done. With that said, this ASU team is experienced and savvy which is necessary to end a losing streak. Look for Kuksiks to blow it up and the Devils win.

ASU 68 Stanford 54


Sun Devil Source Top Stories