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Less than forty eight hours after a humiliating loss in Tucson, UCLA takes on ASU in Tempe. This game has the potential to get ugly if the Bruins aren't at their best...

Two days after an embarrassing showing against Arizona, UCLA takes on Arizona St. in Tempe. Given the way the Sun Devils have played most of the season, and especially Thursday against USC, it's quite conceivable that UCLA is looking at another humiliation in the desert. ASU handled the Bruins fairly easily at Pauley and, other than a slip up against Stanford, they've been extremely tough at home as of late.

In the first meeting at Pauley, the Sun Devils were led by Ike Diogu, Tommy Smith and Curtis Millage, as they accounted for fifty five of ASU's seventy five points. That's been the story for the season, as well, with Diogu averaging 18.5, Millage 14.5 and Smith 10.1 points per game.

Diogu is practically a lock for Pac-10 freshman of the year. In addition to his 18 points, he gets 9 rebounds a game, shoots 61% from the field and 73% from the line. He's got great feet, soft hands and a big body that he knows how to use. Listed at 6-8, he's probably closer to 6-7, but he looks to be all of 240 pounds. He will be a very tough match-up for any Bruin post player if UCLA plays man to man. Ryan Hollins has struggled with foul trouble lately and he'll have to be careful if he's guarding Diogu. Hollins does have a considerable advantage in height and reach, so it's possible he could cause some problems for Diogu. Hollins only played eleven minutes in the first meeting, though, and picked up three fouls.

Tommy Smith has long been a player with a world of upside and, at times this season, he has delivered on that potential. When the two teams met four weeks ago, Smith was in the midst of the best run of his career. He was playing a terrific all-around game and he had a great performance against the Bruins, with sixteen points, ten rebounds and six assists. Lately, though, Smith has slipped back into his mode of great one game, average the next. He only played fourteen minutes against USC and twelve minutes the previous game against Washington. Foul trouble has been an issue, but it also seems that Smith's focus seems to come and go.

After a slow start this season because of some academic difficulties, Curtis Millage is on track again and playing like one of the best guards in the league. The shifty lefty isn't a great outside shooter, but he'll the big shot when needed, as UCLA found out last year when he hit the game-winner. Millage, along with Jason Braxton, gives ASU one of the best defensive backcourts in the west. They're both very quick and aggressive, and ASU feeds off their energy on defense. The Bruins turned the ball over nineteen times in the first game – they'll need to be very conscious of doing a better job valuing the ball.

ASU is not a real good team from the perimeter – their best three-point shooters are reserves Kyle Dodd and Shawn Redhage, both of whom shoot 41% on threes. Because of this deficiency, other teams often try to zone the Sun Devils, as UCLA did in the first game. However, ASU has a number of players who are adept at attacking gaps and getting inside zones. If the Bruins do go to a zone, they'll need to be much more active and aggressive than they were in the first game.

While we actually thought there was a slim chance that UCLA could stay in the game Thursday, due to the fact that Arizona plays in spurts, and they might overlook UCLA after whacking the Bruins at Pauley, we don't feel good about today's match-up with ASU. The Sun Devils are playing good ball and they need every win they can get in order to help their seeding in the tournament. This game has the potential to turn into another embarrassment for UCLA if the Bruins don't come focused and prepared.

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