Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We're Now on Fanster

Thanks to Blogspot for some great hosting over the past couple years.

However, this will be the last official post, as we've been invited to become the official ASU blog on Fanster.com.

If you get to us VIA the address http://www.pitchforknation.com/, you'll go there directly.

If you continue to get to us VIA our Blogspot address, please update your bookmarks to the address above.

Once again, there will be NO MORE UPDATES on this site. Everything will now be on Fanster, accessed through tier site (www.fanster.com) or our site (www.pitchforknation.com). Make sure your update your bookmarks....NOW!

All the same content, some new wrinkles and all the great people from Fanster.com behind us. Get at us there!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Today's Game: Which One's Prettier?


You decide.

No Glasser, Likely No Kuksiks Tonight

The story of the 2008 ASU football season was the multitude of injuries that racked the Devils throughout the year.

Now, the injury bug is hitting basketball.

Derek Glasser will not play tonight at Oregon State (6:30, FS Arizona) after suffering a neck injury Thursday night at Oregon.

Only a game after suffering a concussion in the 84-71 loss to Washington at WFA, Glasser and Joevan Catron collided, snapping Glasser's neck back and sending him to the floor in pain. 

Like I said earlier, I think it's a good idea to keep Glasser out and let him recover, especially with a head injury. The Devils would rather have him at full strength for this week's Thursday/Sunday set with UCLA and USC.

Rihards Kuksiks also missed the Oregon game while battling some sort of virus and apparently he's not better yet either. The Republic says he's "questionable."

With that, I imagine the starting lineup tonight in Corvallis will look like McMillan-Abbott-Shipp-Harden-Pendergraph, which is a major defensive issue. Shipp gives up four inches to Kuksiks on the defensive wing while McMillan often looks confused playing on top of the matchup zone.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Back On Track...?

Last night, the Arizona State Sun Devils played 20 good minutes of basketball and won a Pac-10 game.

Actually, let's backtrack.

James Harden took over in the 2nd half against an 0-9 Pac-10 team, regardless of where the game was being played, and ASU won a basketball game in which they were moribund in the 1st half and played in spurts in the 2nd.

Either way, the Devils won a game they should have at Mac Court yesterday, and there were good things to take from it, but concerns still surround this team as they head to Corvallis on Saturday.

There's no taking away from what James Harden did last night. There's obviously a reason we all complain and moan when the super sophomore plays hesitant basketball; we wonder why he doesn't take open shots early in games and such, and last night we saw what happens when James plays up to his potential.

The Sun Devils certainly didn't have their legs under them throughout the 1st half. They took ill-advised shots, passed poorly and turned the ball over throughout the first 20 minutes. With Rihards Kuksiks out with an illness and the shorter, less heady Jerren Shipp in his place on the wing, they left good shooters like Tajuan Porter wide open for shots from the perimeter and let Michael Dunigan dominate the paint off the bench. I couldn't help but sit and wonder if the Devils were actually putting themselves in the position of potentially losing to the woeful Ducks.

ASU was getting a steady dose of their own medicine, as coach Ernie Kent picked up on the Devils inability to be consistent from the field. His hybrid 3-2 zone frustrated the Sun Devils throughout the first frame and even held them scoreless for over 4 minutes.

Then Harden showed up.

With Jeff Pendergraph returning to his doldrums of taking poor fouls and spending key minutes riding the pine, Harden stepped up and nailed two key three-pointers to start the 2nd half and turn a precarious 5-point halftime lead into an 11-point cushion before the under-16:00 time out.

From there on, the story of the game was either James being able to hit from wherever he was on the floor. He drove the lane, owned the paint and nailed tear trop treys throughout the 2nd half.

He finally put this team on his back and carried the Devils to victory.

Scary moments late in the 2nd half occured when Derek Glasser obviously reaggravated a head injury and remained down on the floor for about 10 minutes after a collision. I will not be surprised if Glasser sits out tomorrow's game at Oregon State. That was a nasty looking shot; nothing illegal, just two players playing tenacious basketball; from Joevan Catron.

Regardless of his minor flaws and frustrations, Glasser is this team's best floor leader and he needs to be ready for the stretch run against the best the Pac-10 has to offer.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

PFN Live Chat 2 On Its Way

Thanks to all of you that participated in last week's live chat. Sorry we couldn't get to everyone's question but I think that it was an unmitigated success for our first go around.

So, on that note, let's do it again!

Same bat time, same bat day, same bat channel. Next Tuesday night at 6:00 PM. Let's recap signing day and the weekend for the Devils in Oregon and other notes from around the Pac-10.

And maybe more XFL talk.

Until then, submit your questions and comments ahead of time to pitchforknation@gmail.com.

The Rich Get Richer at LB

A widely used axiom in pro sports dictates that getting a player back from an extended absence is just about as good as making a major deal for a player just before a trade deadline.

The difference here is that when you get a player back from injury or the such, you don't have to give anything up.

Such is the case today as Gerald Munns announced that he is returning to the Sun Devils.

Munns missed eight of the Devils final nine games last season due to undisclosed personal issues. He had a tremendous game in the win over Stanford in early September, garnering Pac-10 Defensive POTW honors. He also broke his pinky finger in that game, missed the loss to UNLV and then left the team.

This is what we had to say about Munns' injury and absence last October 1:

"We found out on Monday that Munns would miss the Cal game due to personal reasons, but now we find out this morning that those personal reasons will keep the starting linebacker out for the remainder of 2008.

We respect confidentiality obviously, but there's definitely curiosity around why Munns is gone for the year. He didn't play against UNLV due to pinky surgery and he, like most of his fellow linebackers, was completely ineffective against Georgia. But now, out of nowhere, he's gone for the year.

The only thing that we can hope for is that he gets his personal matters, whatever they are, in order for his own sake. Munns has a lot of raw talent and has the ability to be a very good defensive player."

I stand exactly by that. There's no real reason to press and dwell on why Gerald sat out the bulk of his junior season, but according to Dennis Erickson, "he's back to the old Munnsy;" at least that's what he told Jeff Metcalfe.

This announcement comes at a spectacular time as well; with Morris Wooten gone, ASU severely lacked a major playmaker in this second layer of the defensive front. Now Munns, Travis Goethel, Mike Nixon, Ryan McFoy and Vontaze Burfict are the nucleus of what could be a very good linebacking corps.

Talking Recruiting on The Fan

Earlier today, I did a guest spot on The Fan AM 1060 with Bob Kemp to talk about yesterday's National Signing Day and the 21-member Sun Devils 2009 signing class.

We hear from Dennis Erickson, talk about who could make an immediate impact for the Sun Devils and several of the other players that will play for the Maroon and Gold starting next season.

We'll have a more in-depth look tomorrow afternoon in the Podcast.