Pre-Game Q&A with Pitch Fork Nation

Justin from Pitch Fork Nation gives us his take on the game tonight, his idea on how to beat ASU and what the atmostphere will be like tonight in Tempe:

1. Obviously, you have a great team with Harden, but I am a big believer in all of the guys on the court make the difference for the "stars" to be more effective. If Pendergraph is having an off night, is it safe to say that Harden will suffer as well? 

Not necessarily. I think that it's more likely for Pendergraph to have an off night only when he's in foul trouble or when Derek Glasser is turning the ball over. Over the past few weeks, Glasser and Pendergraph have developed such a nice rapport on the court; it's as if they've been playing together for their entire lives. The great thing about James Harden is his ability to create his own shot, even if he's only going left. Harden can perform when Pendergraph is off and vice versa. I'd be more worried if the Devils guard play took a night off.



2. We called Washington and Washington State. Got their playbooks. Coached on them all week. Thoughts?

First off, where did you get the numbers of Romar and Bennett? It's a simple strategy: hit your threes. After beating ASU in Tempe three weeks ago, Tony Bennett said there was no reason to use any other game plan but to shoot a ton of perimeter jumpers; there was no reason to believe that ASU could run any defense as effectively as they ran the matchup zone. Both UW and Wazzou were lights out from outside and that's the reason they won those games at Wells Fargo Arena. Any extra preparation the Wildcats could have done this week should have involved their top 3-ballers taking extra reps.



3. I have touted home court advantage to be so big in the Pac-10 this year that every game is a toss up. What's it going to be like in Tempe on Sunday? 

It's going to be the first sellout at WFA since I moved to Tempe in 2003, and unlike other rivalry games of the past, this one might actually have Sun Devil fans at it. The atmosphere at the Devils home floor has been phenominal so far this season...better than it has ever been in years. It always gets rowdy at Wells Fargo when UA comes to town, but usually it's because of the near riots that sometimes break out in the stands. This time, there's something to play for on both sides, and it'll make for an incredible gym come 8:00 tomorrow.



4. What are your thoughts on your remaining Pac-10 schedule. Can you make a run for the title? 

I really believe that after UCLA's win over Washington on Thursday night that the Pac-10 is going to be a wild sprint toward the finish and that #1 seed in the Pac-10 (which, as proved by UCLA in 2007...really doesn't mean anything). Anyone, including Arizona, has a legit shot at grabbing the regular season crown at this exact minute and there's no reason to discount Arizona State from that mix. After Sunday's game, the Devils have to go to the Northwest for two big time revenge games and if ASU can pull off a win in Seattle, they will be the frontrunner for the title. Washington State will give the Devils fits, and then they've got disappointing Stanford and reenergized Cal at home. There's a legit chance the Devils will win the conference.



5. Right back at you, give us some perspective on how ASU fans perceive Arizona this year. 

No matter how good ASU ever is, there's going to be a lot of attention from this neck of the woods toward Tucson. Early on, honestly, Arizona was a laughing stock to us. We rolled on the floor holding our sides when Jamelle Horne lost the game to UAB. We did it again when Horne did it again to USC. And I'm sure that a select few of the dregs of our fan base took some sort of sick pleasure out of seeing Chase Budinger getting his face stepped on (I was not one of those, for the record, I have class). But there's a certain sense of....awe isn't he word...curiosity about the Wildcats right now in the midst of their 7 game winning streak. One thing is for certain: no one thinks Sunday is going to be a cakewalk win.

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