MBB Preview: Arizona State at Oregon

Arizona State (7-5, 0-1) at Oregon (7-6, 0-1)
7:00 PT, McArthur Court
Media:  [insert Pac-10 TV deal complaint here], radio, Ozone

Starting Lineups

Pos.  Arizona Oregon
F Kyle Cain (8.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 0.7 apg) Joevan Catron (16.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 apg)
F Rihards Kuksiks (10.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.8 apg) Jeremy Jacob (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.8 apg)
F Trent Lockett (14.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.7 apg) EJ Singler (11.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.6 apg)
G Ty Abbott (13.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg) Johnathan Loyd (5.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.0 apg)
G Jamelle McMillan (6.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.8 apg) Malcolm Armstead (7.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.7 apg)

After what seems like years of hype and hoopla, the final game at Mac Court arrives as Arizona State visits the Pit for the final time.  The Sun Devils are in the midst of a disappointing season, with a profile very similar to Oregon's (losing to every significant opponent by double digits).  They sport close victories against the likes of Nevada, Weber State, and North Carolina A&T, and have been routed by New Mexico, St. John's, Richmond, and Baylor.  In their Pac-10 opener, the Beavers ran them out of Gill with a 22 point blowout.  ASU may be the most favorable matchup for Oregon in the conference, as they usually run four guards, with their one 'big man' being 6'7" Kyle Cain.  They do have two seven foot centers on the roster, but both are very raw and average less than ten minutes per game.

 

ASU played their opener in Corvallis without the services of Trent Lockett, the Sun Devils' leading scorer at 14.7 ppg.  Lockett is questionable tonight.  Should he be able to play, he is a driver-slasher type guard who does a good job getting to the basket and finishing, but is not a real threat from the outside, hitting only 21% from beyond the arc and 69% from the line.  Arizona State will also rely heavily on Ty Abbot (13.3 ppg, 37% from three) and Rihards Kuksiks (10.6 ppg, 38% from three).  Jamelle McMillan (Nate's son), the starting point guard, is very efficient, with a 3-1 assist to turnover ratio.  He also stepped up against the Beavers with some deep threes (hitting 32% from three on the season overall).  Lockett is a dimension on this team that can't be replicated by other players on the roster.  If he can go, his ability to penetrateopens up Arizona State's whole game offensively.  If he must sit out again tonight, it makes the Sun Devils a one dimensional jump shooting team.

Defensively, the ASU uses the match-up zone as their primary defense (a match up zone is a zone defense, but with a lot of ball pressure and the man denying one zone over).  Obviously, with Oregon's shooting woes, Arizona State would love for Oregon to jack up a lot of threes.  However, with the Sun Devils not having a starter over 6'7", Oregon's being patient and working the ball into Catron and Jacob and playing around that will be key to having success offensively.

KEYS TO THE GAME:

1.  Get the ball inside:  This is one of the few Pac-10 games where Oregon has a big advantage in the post.  Let Joevan and JJ get to work early, and it will open up holes for the rest of the team to penetrate and get open shots.  If we're shooting outside a lot early, we know how that turns out.

2.  Win the battle of the boards:  Again, this is a team that won't dominate us physically.  We have to win the rebound battle to have a good shot.

3.  Leave no shooters open:  especially if Lockett is not playing, ASU is going to be taking a lot of jump shots.  Good close outs with hands up will be a must.  If ASU cannot hit a reasonable percentage on their jump shots, we have a great shot at this game if our shooting is merely mediocre.

Lets hope for one last bit of Mac Court magic tonight.

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