Thursday, January 17, 2008
At the beginning of this season many had high hopes for ASU's Men's basketball team. I was one of them. No one expected the team to be 13-2 and ranked #22 in the AP Poll though. Sendek's Devils stormed through the non-conference schedule, only slipping in the season opener and in the first true away game. Excitement in Tempe is high, and rightfully so. ASU hasn't seen a men's basketball team like this in years. But hang on a minute. Thursday is the beginning of a very tough stretch for the Devils with the first road game in six weeks and 9 of the remaining 15 games away from Wells Fargo Arena. The road was not friendly to ASU last year and will be a true measuring stick to how good this team really is.
ASU faces Cal on Thursday and Stanford on Saturday and has a chance to solidify its standing atop the Pac-10 standings with wins. Both teams should present a big challenge as both feature multiple talented big men. Cal is led by Ryan Anderson, the Pac-10 leading scorer, and Devon Hardin who is among the best bangers in the conference. Stanford features the 7 foot twins Brook and Robin Lopez who are both capable defenders and potential scorers. Seeing how Jeff Pendergraph matches up in the post when he'll likely be double teamed will make a difference in both games. Additionally, James Harden's ability to score by driving will be tested by the trees in the middle. ASU's supporting players will have to step up big on this road trip. Like I said, these two games will tell us a lot about our Devils.
The Cal game can be heard on 960 AM at 8:30pm Thursday and the Stanford game can be seen on FSN AZ or heard on 620 AM at 8pm Saturday.
I know I've been sleeping on the Women's team and that's just unfair because they've been carrying the torch for ASU basketball for years now. I'm going to start trying to get some updates on them here as well. Go Devils!