Arizona remaining balanced

Arizona knows that Arizona State is a big opponent, but is approaching the schedule with balance. Read on to see why, what Miller thinks of the Sun Devils, and more.

Arizona continues to be the top team in the country and the next squad up on the schedule is Arizona State.

"It's a big game for us," Sean Miller said. "It is a game our fans care a lot about. It's a home conference game. We have to take advantage of our home court like all teams in our conference. If you don't, it really puts pressure through this 18 game schedule."

Although Arizona has dominated the matchup, some would still consider Thursday to be part of a rivalry. Miller acknowledges this, but also believes that he and his players can't put too much emphasis on that fact.

"You have to have balance," he said. "When that one game becomes the Super Bowl, this is so unlike football, we don't have six days to recover and get ready for the next one. You play teams more than one time and there will be teams that we play three times in the conference.

"I think you have to be careful making one bigger than the next. Make no mistake though, we understand the significance of the Arizona-Arizona State rivalry, but we also understand the importance of being at home."

Jahii Carson has been slumping a bit as of late, but is still considered to be Arizona State's best player and should be one of Arizona's main focuses.

"No player is perfect through 30 plus games," Miller said. "Every player has his peaks and there are the valleys. He is experienced enough and talented enough that whatever slump or brief stint that he is in where the ball isn't going in can change very quickly. We don't want it to change on us."

One player that is not getting as much attention as he probably should is 6-foot-4 transfer Jermaine Marshall, who has arguably been the best Sun Devil as of late.

"Jermaine Marshall is a very good player," Miller said. "To me, he is one of our conference's best guards. Statistically speaking when Arizona State is at their best, he seems to have a big night. He is a capable scorer. I watched him play his last game against UCLA and you can make the argument he was one of the best players, if not the best player, on the court at times.

"He is not just a shooter, but someone that can score. A lot like Mark Lyons a year ago. Anytime you go through several Big 10 seasons and you're not 18, you're 21, 22 years old, you're in your last year in college and that experience is something you draw on. I think he not only brings a very good player to the table, but just another veteran, experienced player as well."

Arizona State's size will once again come from Jordan Bachynski, who Miller believes continues to improve.

"A couple of things have changed from a year ago," Miller said. "I believe Jordan Bachynski has continued to improve. He is one of the nation's best shot blockers defensively, he anchors their defense and on offense, he's just picked up right where he left off. He continues to be more sure of himself and you can't underestimate what he's been able to do with a lot of low post catches and offensive rebounds.

"He's definitely an improved player. He deserves, as does their program, a lot of credit for that. He is a very experienced guy as well. I think one of the things Arizona State has is kind of a veteran club, an older club."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories