Senior Carrick Felix is averaging 15 points and eight boards per game while shooting 54 percent from the field and 39 percent from behind the arc. As a comparison, he played the same minutes per game last season and averaged 10 points and four rebounds while shooting 42 percent from the field.
Usually, a big jump is made from freshman to sophomore year, but it appears that Felix has made that jump from his junior to senior years.
You can make an argument that Felix has been Arizona State's most consistent player, as he has only shot below 46 percent from the field twice and one of those was in the first game of the season. In Pac-12 play, Felix's worst game was probably against Oregon and he still scored 12 points on 6-12 shooting from the field and added six rebounds.
Felix will use the three-pointer to open up his game a bit, but does not rely on it. He is more of a player that uses his athleticism to make things happen and also has a solid jumper that can get him some buckets.
In addition to Felix, Arizona State will start Jonathan Gilling, who is more of a three-point specialist than anything. The problem with that belief this year is that Gilling just is not hitting them at his normal rate, as evidenced by his 34 percent from behind the arc. Last season, Gilling shot 41 percent and although 110 of his 139 field goal attempts this year are from three, Gilling just is not shooting the ball all that well.
If Gilling's shot is not falling, he is still effective in other areas. He does not turn the ball over much and averages seven rebounds per game. Still, Gilling's strength is in his shooting ability and if Arizona lets him get going, it is going to make the entire offense much better. If Gilling is not able to get into a rhythm, Arizona's job defensively becomes much easier.
Often on message boards and such, there will be debates about whether or not schools should take big men that are projects. Arizona State did just that when it took a commitment from 7-foot-2, 250-pound Jordan Bachynski and it definitely seems to be paying off in his junior season.
Bachynski is averaging 10 points, seven rebounds, and almost five blocks per 26 minutes of player, which makes him one of the better big men in the country in terms of what he has been able to do defensively.
There is some inconsistency with what Bachynski has been able to do offensively, but it is not a big deal when you consider that he has had five blocks or more in seven games this season. Bachynski is able to completely change what the opposing offense does because of his ability to block shots and it will be interesting to see how Arizona attacks it.
The Sun Devils will bring one big man off the bench in Ruslan Pateev, who has seen his numbers range from five minutes to ten minutes in any give game. Pateev is not going to have a huge impact on the game, but is shooting 11-17 from the field and can be effective near the basket.
Solomon Hill will likely get the task of guarding Carrick Felix and it will not be an easy one. Like Jahii Carson, if ASU does not get a good game from Felix, its chances of winning decreases dramatically. In addition, it will be intriguing to see how the Wildcats handle Bachynski, who has the ability to completely take over a game defensively.