Its another shot at the Sun Devils
Last time, T.J. Parker provided the home heroics with a run and a jumper to get the win 63-61. The last time we played in Tempe, the Sun Devils easily defeated the Wildcats 77-60.The Coach
The last 2 games have witnessed the Cats defensive domination of a hot shooting opponent's top scorers. The last "Big Gun," our opponents leading scorer, was held to just 6 points. Before that, DePaul's "Bomber," the 3 point shooter, went 0 for 5 from the arc.
Nothing like a little defense to allow NU's offense score enough to win.
But this game could be different.
The Arizona Sun Devils feature Ike Diogu [left], a junior Center/Forward who is #3 in the nation in scoring average [24.3 points per game, and also leads the team rebounds [10.1 per game] and has the best field goal percentage [.651] on the team. You also can't foul him - he has a .727 career free throw average. Yes, he is averaging a double-double this year.
Just from reading the stat page, you get the feeling that Mr. Ike spends a lot of time under the basket, making those high percentage shots, but he doesn't shoot 3 pointers. He's 0 for 5 this year.
He leaves the outside the arc play to two starters and a sub; Senior Guard Steve Moore [right], Soph Guard Bryson Krueger and Soph reserve Guard Kevin Kruger have all attempted 29 or more 3 pointers this year. They average 12 3 point shots per game, and they're all hitting over 40% - around 14 points per game from 3 point land.
Soph Forward Serge Angeounou, the other guy in the ASU starting lineup, is hovering right under Diogu in the box score lately. He's averaging 9.6 pppg and 7.6 boards in the last 5 games.
There might be a little "rust" on the Sun Devils - they've been in exams since December 12th and their coach stresses academics as well as athleticism...
Arizona State's Head Coach Rob Evans talks about coaching "life," but what he's really done at ASU is pick up the rebounding and raise the free throw average.Playing Style
The highlight of his first season with the Sun Devils was that they out rebounded its opponents for the first time in 15 years! Last year's team was the 5th best free throw shooting team in school history [.735]. While Evans' overall record at ASU is 90-89, they've only had 2 winning seasons during his tenure.
His other head coaching job was at Mississippi - where he compiled a winning record at a college that apparently still thought that basketball was something you did between Football seasons. He only won the SEC West roundball title twice and won at Lexington
A little noted item on his resume is that he also was drafted by a major league baseball team back in 1964. He also signed a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Chaparrals. When he tells kids about playing at the "next" level, he knows from where he's speaking.
The "book" on ASU is that they can't penetrate a good tight zone - NU runs a matchup zone almost all the time. "We'll see the zone until we show people that we can really attack it," Evans said. "We know how to attack it. These young kids are just trying to figure out the balance between being aggressive and then showing patience." [Rick Evans in the Arizona Republic]
ASU's overall playing style under Evans, however, has been described as five "starved men after a loaf of bread. They dove helter-skelter after loose balls throughout." [Rick Cleveland-Jackson Clarion-Ledger]
The Sun Devils play an agressive style of basketball, and they've had past seasons wrecked by injuries to key players. You wonder if they practice too hard.
A couple of early subs, Allen Morill and Keith Wooden seem to have dropped out of the rotation, even though they were playing 9+ minutes a game earlier in the season. Morill is listed in the present notes as having been sick in November, Wooden played 15 minutes against UTEP and has seen his time decrease since.
Defensively, they seem to have the other team's game in hand. So far their 8 opponents have averaged 39% from the floor, and just under 28% from the arc. They've outscored opponents 594 to 506, an 11 point scoring margin. They average 74 points a game, holding foes to 63%.
A dark spot on the stat sheet is their turnover number, they average 18 per game. They also allow 10 steals a game. Blocks are about even.
Arizona State is on a five game winning streak, 4 of the games have been at home. Since they lost to UTEP November 26th, they've knocked off Vanderbilt, Temple, Cal State Northridge, Fairleigh Dickinson and UC Riverside.
The Wildcats are probably the best defensive team they've faced so far this December. Just like NU's games against DePaul and Seton Hall, this one should provide a chance to see just how good NU's defense is against a multi-faceted team playing at home.
Coach Roy's Purple Reign Categories:
|The Big Gun||#5 Ike Diogu
||24.3 points per game
|Deadeye Dick||#5 Ike Diogu
||56 of 86 for a .651 FG Percentage
|The Bomber||#21 Steve Moore
||Attempted 37, hit 15
but two other guards have attempted 30 3-s
|Off the Boards||#5 Ike Diogu
||10.1 rebounds per game
|Charity Stripe||#5 Ike Diogu
||82 of 91 from the FT Line 90.1%
|Pickpocket||#1 Jason Braxton
||10 Steals in 8 games
|Super Sub||#13 Kevin Kruger
||Averages 25 mins, 7.9 ppg
|Helping Hands||#1 Jason Braxton
||3.9 assists a game
Diogu does it all for the Sun Devils
|Forward||#45 Serge Angounou [So 6-8]
|Center||#5 Ike Diogu [Jr 6-8]||24.3||10.1|
|Guard||#21 Steve Moore [Sr 6-4]
#12 Bryson Krueger [So 6-7]
#1 Jason Braxton [Sr 6-2]
Diogu is listed as a Forward/Center
Off the Bench
[Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:
|Forward||#34 Wilfried Fameni [So 6-7]
#11 Tim Pierce [Fr 6-7]
|Center||#2 Keith Wooden [So 6-8]
|Guard||# 13 Kevin Kruger [So 6-2]
#33 Tyrone Jackson [Jr 6-2]
The Sun Devils get a lot of points off their bench, but they give up rebounding when they sub.
Challenges for the Wildcats
- Another big scorer to deal with - have to shut down Diogu.
- Can't let Moore get set - He'll take that 3 if you let him
- Thompson will have to show how he handles another big guy off the boards without fouling him. - Ike is a 90% Free Throw shooter.
- Hachad will also get to demonstrate defense - so will Doyle and Davor.
- Show the Devils they can't deal with our zone....expect them to try and attack it
Tip off is at 7 PM Wildcat time at Tempe, AZ
TV: Fox Sports Net Arizona - Fox Sports Chicago will broadcast.
Radio: WGN with Dave [Mr. Wildcat] Eanet and either Shon Morris or Bob Hildebrand
Gametracker: NU Sports,
Beat 'em All!
|Talk about it on the Purple Boards