Monday, March 24, 2008

Devils Face Two-Time Champ Gators

Tuesday night ASU will take on the two-time defending national champion Florida Gators at Wells Fargo Arena in the NIT quarterfinals. The Sun Devils will play their final home game of the season on Tuesday night as a win will move ASU into the NIT semifinals in Madison Square Garden and a loss will end the season.

While Florida is no longer the powerhouse they were over the last two years, this year's squad still has plenty of talent and a coach with two national championships under his belt in Billy Donovan. Florida lost all of their talent from their championship teams and has a current roster with seven freshman. Much like the Sun Devils, the Gators are led by an immensely talented freshman wing player. Nick Calathes is a 6'6" stat machine that does everything on the court, averaging 15.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6.1 apg, and 1.6 spg. While Calathes is the statistical leader, junior Walter Hodge is the elder statesman with experience. Hodge was buried under all of the future pros the last two years but is a very talented guard who can control a game at times. While Florida's strength over the last two years was big, talented post players like Joakim Noah and Al Horford, this year's team is loaded with athletic wings in the 6'6"-6'8" range. The Gator's lone real post presence this year is 6'10" sophomore Marreese Speights who is averaging 14.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, and 1.4 bpg. Dan Werner and Jai Lucas round out the starting lineup.

The Devils should match up well against Florida in everything from size to youth. Statistically, these two teams are very similar and should play a very interesting game. If the Devils can get a big contribution on offense from someone in addition to James Harden's stellar play, ASU's defense should be able to win this game. Individually there are several matchups to watch as well. James Harden vs. Nick Calathes is the headline matchup and will give fans a chance to see two of the most under-appreciated freshman talents in the country. Jeff Pendergraph vs. Marreese Speights will be the battle in the post and could be the most important matchup of the game. Both teams have guards that rebound the ball well, and these two will be counted on to control the paint. The X-Factor matchup would have to be Ty Abbott vs. Jai Lucas. Both are deep threats and can turn the game if they catch fire from behind the arc.

A trip to New York City is on the line and the Sun Devils have a chance to further prove the "experts" wrong who left them out of the NCAA tournament while Arizona and Oregon predictably fell in the first round. The game begins at 6pm and can be seen on ESPN.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Justin Tryon Draft Preview from Draft Guys TV

the dust settles

2 important games tonight!
Basketball: 1st round NIT game   ----   #1 Baseball plays #2 UofA
After taking a step back and a deep breath, I can still honestly say our men's basketball program has taken HUGE steps in becoming a solid team for the long run. Like our football program, we have a coach proving to be the difference maker. In college sports, the coach is SO important and we are lucky enough to have three of the best in their prospective sports. With young talent on our basketball team, our first appearance in tournament play since 2005 will prove invaluable. James Harden will be back next year as will many of his freshman team-mates. I have gotten over the hump of disappointment and moved to the next step. We have a reputation to uphold as a #1 seed in the NIT. We need a solid performance in what used to be THE tournament back in the day. Hopefully our players learn many things from this experience and it snowballs into next year. Plus, we can still cheer on our WVU brothers in the NCAA tournament by burning couches outside our dorms after they beat UofA. Get the word out.
articles saying the same thing you already knew...
ASU vs. UofA
An already sold out game as of last night might take away a lot of the NIT hype because of our heated rivalry. ASU UofA baseball games are simply put, GREAT. I have traveled to Tucson for the game and watched it here in Tempe. You will not be disappointed. The crowds are loud for each team, the talent is unlike anywhere else, and the overall atmosphere makes for a great day at the ballpark. Few baseball games throughout the year mean this much. With allegations plaguing Pat Murphy by ex-asst. manager Moreno of NCAA infractions, Our coach has taken a surprising high road on the situation as well as led his team to a 17-0 start. Remember to study before you go as you will undoubtedly have many opportunities to speak on ASU's behalf.
Cal State Fullerton jumped on starter Ryan Perry for five runs and six hits in the first inning and held on for a 10-7 victory over Arizona (12-2) on Sunday at Jerry Kindall Field. 
(so that guy sucks)
Collegiate Baseball announced Monday that ASU first baseman/pitcher Ike Davis was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week after helping the Sun Devils go 5-0 with a pair of two-homer games against Arkansas and Troy. He scored seven runs, drove in eight and went 9 for 17 (.529) with a 1.412 slugging percentage during the week. He also pitched 1 2/3 innings, striking out four and not allowing a hit.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

ASU to take the NIT

The Arizona State Sun Devils have been named a #1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament and will take on the regular season champions of the SWAC, the Alabama State Hornets. Alabama State was bounced in the semifinals of the SWAC tournament this past Friday by Jackson State.

The Devils bracket also includes, as the #2 seed, the two-time defending NCAA champion Florida Gators. The winner of this game will take on the winner of the 4/5 game between Southern Illinois and Oklahoma State.

The game will take place in Tempe at 8:00 PM on Tuesday night and will be televised to a national audience on ESPN2.

Call out to Pitchfork Nation: Get your maroon and gold wearing behinds to Wells Fargo Arena and show the Selection Committee on what the NCAA Tournament missed out on...Well, yes. That's a given though. I also meant this though:

Say hello to the NIT

The word came down just a few moments ago, and no one in Tempe likes it. And a whole lot of pundits from around the nation don't like it either.

Unfortunately, though, when you really look at it logically, outside of that absolutely outrageous Villanova pick, the NCAA Selection Committee may just have gotten it correct.

The committee pointed out, early and often, that they would be taking into much stronger consideration a team's non-conference schedule strength. ASU's was 310th out of 341, easily the lowest out of any bubble team. ASU's RPI, which I still think shouldn't be taken into serious consideration and should only be used as a loose measuring stick, was by far the lowest of any bubble team. Also, don't forget that the Sun Devils were only 5-10 in their last 15, and the committee has ALWAYS taken recent success into serious account.

Unfortunately for ASU on that final note, the Sun Devils clearly played their best basketball of the season when they were beating Xavier, the Oregon Schools and Arizona in December and January, but seemingly, the committee only cares if you've been playing your strongest hoop in February and March.

Those are all the arguments against ASU. However, the ones for the Devils are the ones that will still leave us ASU fans with a bitter taste in our mouths.

Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas and Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg (whose team also was snubbed) are all on record saying that ASU got a *insert Dickie V voice* raw deal, baby (baby added for emphasis)! ASU still had 5 wins over RPI top 50 teams, including the win over Xavier, who is a 3 seed and one of my early picks for a trip to the Elite Eight. Of course, the Devils had wins over both Oregon and Arizona (2), two teams that made the tournament.

If you really feel the need to blame someone, blame Georgia. Had Georgia, yes, THAT Georgia that went 4-12 in conference this season, not sent a whirlwind (pun COMPLETELY intended), through the SEC Tournament and won the damn thing, it would have easily opened up another at-large berth for a team like ASU or Virginia Tech or Ohio State or Dayton or any other bubble team to slip in.

Either way, let's not be TOO disappointed, because there's way too much positive stuff to take away from this season to be driven to sitting in a darkened office, eating Ben & Jerry's and watching hockey's version of Gus Johnson through a sleepless night. The 32-team field for the National Invitation Tournament will be released tonight at 6:00 PM on ESPN2. My best guess is that ASU will be hosting a game at Wells Fargo Arena next week, potentially as a #1 seed. And I'll tell you this...winning a couple of games in the NIT and getting to see our boys to play at Madison Square Garden would still be pretty awesome.

Await the fate

who's in? who's out?

here's what they are saying...
ASU's chances are about as hard to figure as any for teams that were only guaranteed sleepless hours during the long night before Sunday's 65-team field is announced at 3 p.m. From day to day - even hour to hour, the Sun Devils have fallen in and out of various projected brackets.

"I remain optimistic," Sendek said. "I really do. Most of the voices do, too."

Sendek's confidence was buoyed, even in the wake Thursday of a 59-55 loss to Southern California at the Pac-10 tournament in quarterfinal game that ended in a controversial call - a foul against Jeff Pendergraph - that eliminated any chance at an ASU victory. That night, Sendek returned to Staples Center to watch Stanford beat Arizona, 75-64. Sendek said there was no way he could have stayed in his hotel room. He looked at its four walls and remembered one his favorite films, Papillon. Steve McQueen stars in the 1973 movie as an inmate serving a sentence in a notorious island prison.
"It was either the game or pacing in my room and counting steps like Papillon did in his cell," Sendek said.

find the article here.

other links of interest today:

Erin Maupin is still a vegetarian and it still takes away from her hotness...

if anything bad happens to you today: walk it off

-Moreno's mom DID make the phonecall-
now espn sticks their nose in the murphy-moreno drama
This last link is a REALLY interesting read^
here are some exerpts:

"To me, Mikel Moreno is what college baseball is all about … Maybe I am harder on him. I see so much in that young man. It's been a pleasure to be around the kid. It's not easy, because he's a great challenge. But I would want him with me in every baseball situation I was ever in." -- Pat Murphy in an interview with The Omaha World-Herald during the 1998 College World Series

"The thing I vividly remember when we lost in '98 to [USC] in the World Series finals, when we came home, we had a team meeting. And Mikel Moreno stood up and said, 'If anyone ever says anything bad about this program, I will hunt him down and find him.' I'm not the only one who remembers that conversation. His exact words were, 'If anyone bites the hand that feeds them, I'll find him.'" -- Willie Bloomquist, now a Seattle Mariners infielder

The lights are about to dim at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark, and Murphy jokingly ponders his place and what Arizona State will someday name after him.
"Murphy's Outhouse," he says. "The Port-A-Potties with my picture on it."
His face turns serious.
"The school … I'm not in the school's favor, you know what I mean?" he says. "I've been through seven athletic director changes. The school, they're trying to find themselves, and they don't need trouble from the baseball coach. I probably talk too much and I probably say my piece too much and am not politically correct enough.
"This athletic director [Lisa Love], she doesn't know how to take me. She doesn't totally trust me. … I think she doesn't see me yet, but that's OK. She's a professional. I've just got to be me."

Friday, March 14, 2008

GAME RECAP and other news

0:16  -  QTR4
USC 57-55 ASU

USC has the ball. Harden steals it, and goes in for a layup.... We held our collective breath. missed.....

Then out of nowhere-
tie game right? WRONG
Pendergraph is hit with is fifth foul (over the back)

(Steve Jones (right) and Kraidon Woods react)

Another view of the over the back call 
made by official Michael Eggers. (some slob)

Pendergraph shows his disdain shared by pitchfork nation.
The Devils foul and go down by 4, we miss two threes.
Game. (whatevs)

Trojans embrace (homosexually) gayness


"I could stay in school and regain my eligibility next year, however, I am continually amazed with the inconsistent way the ASU administration randomly executes their rules to suit themselves with no care whatsoever for the student," Jarvis wrote on his Web site. "So, rather than continue to struggle through the academic bureaucracy at ASU, I have decided to pursue a career in professional baseball."

"Pat Tillman, Arizona State DB. He was the living embodiment of the Tasmanian Devil, a whirling dervish of destruction and the only ASU player to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors. Oh, and the Sun Devils haven't been back to the Rose Bowl since Tillman left campus."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

GAME DAY: Devils face Trojans


The fifth-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils and the fourth-seeded USC Trojans meet in today's first quarterfinal round matchup of the Pac-10 Tournament held at the Staples Center. The winner of this contest will advance to face either UCLA or California in the semifinals on Friday. [TSN]

Games from last night:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

news from around "al gore"

Well, time to resurrect good old PFN. With little to no news on this site lately, you would think Sundevils have nothing to cheer for, when in fact, you couldn't be further from the truth. The beginning of the Baseball season was always one of my favorite times of the sporting year at ASU. I mean, the history and tradition of our baseball team is arguably better than any of our other sports, plus we're ranked #1 and this is our second best start in school history. No better place to go get in a few well placed creative, loud, and smart heckles out of your system than 201 S Packard Dr. Just don't cheer too loud or the security will kick you out and you'll have to write a three page paper on the topic of "why rules are important." Yes I am a little bitter... assholes.

ITO: "Will the defendant rise"
CROW: "Me the judge, jury, and prosecutor find the defendant, Nick Saia, guilty of sitting in an empty seat at packard stadium not intended for students. You are here by sentenced to 6 months behavioral probation and required to complete a 3 page paper on why rules are important."

apparently I may have not been the only one breaking rules at the time... Lets hope I was.

Arizona State has begun an internal investigation into allegations of academic fraud and recruiting violations in its top-ranked baseball program.

Former player and team manager Mikel Moreno told the East Valley Tribune he had made the allegations to university officials, who launched the investigation.

let the rumor train start rolling...

one more piece of bad news... a new bachelor is back and ready to make the rounds. He recently reserved a table at axis radius and two bottles of Grey Goose

(deep breath)
now the good news

Lute might not like what he sees when he comes back. "MY EMPIRE IS CRUMBLING!" His team is now the #2 team in Arizona and his rivals, (us) received some great news today: James Harden will return for his sophmore season. [EVT]

Lets keep our fingers crossed for a good PAC10 tournament showing this weekend and a possible selection to the big tourney. WWHSD? whatever DE does... dominate

Friday, March 7, 2008

Devils Drop Crucial Game

Thursday night stood at a big night in the Sun Devil's post-season hopes. ASU is a bubble team and needed to close out conference play with two wins on the road. That won't happen. The Devils lost to Oregon 67-61 after again falling victim to a scoring run by the opponent to open the second half and James Harden's heroics proved too little too late to save the team.

There were a number of frustrating things about this game, the first of which being the lack of television coverage. Seriously? I was relegated to watching ESPN's GameCast as it refreshed every 30 seconds and the little graph of the scoring difference inched upward. Glad to be in the technological haven of 2008. Second is the scoring run that the Devils give up to start the second half of seemingly every game in the conference schedule. Sendek needs to bring in Dennis Erickson to give the halftime talks during the Pac-10 tournament and the players need to toughen up mentally to prevent such a run. Third, Jeff Pendergraph went 5-for-5 against Oregon. If the emotional leader of the team and second leading scorer hasn't missed a shot, why does he only get 5 shots for the entire game?! He wasn't in foul trouble! He played 29 minutes! 5 SHOTS?! It still blows my mind that he doesn't get more touches. Derek Glasser goes 1-for-9 and Pendergraph only gets 5 shots.

In other news, Harden still did his thing. 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals while scoring 10 points in the last 4 minutes to cut the Oregon lead to 3 with under a minute to play. Unfortunately, Oregon did what they were supposed to do and made free throws down the stretch.

ASU needs to beat Oregon State (0-17 in conference) on Saturday to finish .500 in the conference play and keep NCAA hopes alive. Winning two games in the Pac-10 tournament would give the Devils a more legitimate chance at the Dance. Saturday's game will be televised on FSN Arizona and broadcast on 620AM at 3:30pm.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Devils Split versus L.A. Schools

So I've been unable to get to the blog lately but I thought I'd give you all some reading from the last week of ASU basketball. The Sun Devils again lost badly to the uber-talented UCLA Bruins, but avenged an earlier loss to USC by beating the Trojans 80-66. Only two games remain on the schedule for the regular season, as the Devils take the road to Oregon where they should be able to win both games and finish 10-8 in Pac-10 play and 20-10 for the season if all goes well. Until then, here's what all the other sites are saying about the last two games:

UCLA Game:
ASU Athletics
Yahoo Sports

USC Game:
Yahoo Sports

ASU Athletics

AZ Central
East Valley Tribune

Scott Bordow of EVT

I'll be back later this week with some thoughts on the end of the Devils' regular season and a look at the Pac-10 Tournament as well as ASU's shot at March Madness.