Oregon Ducks (11-5, 2-2) at Arizona State Sun Devils (5-10, 1-2)
7:30 PT, Wells Fargo Arena
TV: FSN National
KenPom Rankings: Oregon (112), ASU (164)
Pomeroy Projection: Oregon 68, ASU 67
After a split at home against the Bay Area schools, the Ducks go back on the road to the desert, tonight taking on Arizona State. The Sun Devils are a mess in every sense of the word. Their best player, Keala King, is no longer on the team. They are lousy on both ends of the floor. And, as is Herb Sendek's MO, they are the most boring team in the conference, ranking 284th in the nation in tempo. But the real stat that jumps out at you is turnover percentage. If you've read my basketball stuff, I've harped incessantly on Oregon's turnover percentage. The Ducks turn it over on about 20% of their possessions, ranking 151st in the nation. Its way too many. Well, Arizona State turns it over on 26% of their possessions, a whopping 336th in the nation. Keep in mind the pace, ASU isn't being sloppy in an attempt to run, they do it while having one of the slowest paces in all of college hoops.
In spite of the turnovers, the Sun Devils do enough good things on offense to keep them in the top 150 in efficiency, in that they shoot the ball well and draw fouls. It will be interesting to see what the offense does without their point guard in King, but they still have a few nice players. Guard Trent Lockett averages 14 a game and has a really nice shot from all distances (in addition to 6.7 rebounds per game). Carrick Felix is a combo player that can also hit from anywhere. Kyle Cain is a low post scorer. And Jonathan Gilling is an intriguing freshman who hasn't had a lot of play, but went off for five threes in their last game. That said, they are still a very turnover prone team without a point guard.
Defensively, ASU is a worse mess than they are offensively. We know that a Herb Sendek team will sit back in a zone, but they don't do it well. Ranking 210th in defensive efficiency, Arizona State doesn't force turnovers, lets the opponent shoot a lot of wide open threes, and foul a lot. While I'm sure ASU will have matchup based adjustments for Oregon, I expect to see a lot of open outside shots for Singler, Sim, and Joseph. and for the Ducks to go to the free throw line a lot. In other words, all the elements for a comfortable Duck win.
FOUR FACTORS PREVIEW:
eFG%: ASU 52.6 (54), Oregon 51.2 (93)
If they don't turn it over, the Sun Devils shoot pretty well. Oregon has been much higher in this stat most of the season, but have fallen off a cliff after the Washington State game.
Turnover %: Oregon 20.5 (151), ASU 25.9 (336)
l still chuckle at that number. That said, these are also two of the worst teams in the nation at forcing turnovers. ASU's zone just isn't very aggressive. Oregon's defense just isn't very good.
Offensive Rebounding %: ASU 31.7 (204), Oregon 30.3 (241)
Neither team is any good at hitting the boards offensively.
FTA/FGA: Oregon 44.7 (33), 43.6 (47)
Both of these teams are very good at getting to the line. The difference is that Oregon ranks 20th in the nation in not letting other teams getting to the line. ASU ranks 227th.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
1. Hit from distance: the long range shots will be there all night. Oregon has the shooters to make ASU pay for their zone.
2. Win the battle of the boards: Both of these teams have been very underwhelming on the boards, but Oregon should have a sizable height advantage. They need to use it.
3. Set the tempo: Make this a running game. ASU doesn't want to run, espeically without their PG.
Great shot for a win on the road tonight. GO DUCKS!