House of Sparky's Adam has given us the Arizona State perspective on the matchup this weekend. Be sure to check out House of Sparky for all the updates on the Sun Devils preparation for tomorrow.
1. What do you think Arizona State's odds are of winning the Pac-10 regular season? Break down your remaining schedule and give some insight on your games.
I think our chances are very high. We are only ½ game behind Washington (1 win) and are playing some high level basketball. I think we will win this Sunday at home, then go into Seattle and take a must-win game against Washington. Maybe in OT. Washington state will be a double digit win. Then we will win the final two games at home – maybe dropping the last game against Cal if we have a cushion in the P10 and rest some of our starters.
2. What will Arizona State do better this time around when taking on the Cats on Saturday?
I think number one we will shoot better. We shot 28.6% from the field and 17.9% from three. I think it is highly probable that we will come out at home and score more points.
3. Do you really think that was an illegal screen, last game? Seriously?
I don't think it really matters, I think we would have won anyway. USC made a small run but never got in control. If you really want a straight answer on that though – no. :)
4. Admit or deny that the Arizona Wildcats are the hottest team in the Pac-10 right now.
I have to admit it. You guys started off with that gritty win in OT against Houston then have been cleaning up the Pac-10 since then. Stomped the Washington, Oregon, and LA schools. You guys are hot, no doubt about it. Jordan Hill has really been dominating – his draft stock has definitely been on the uptick.
5. How are you going to stop the three headed monster (Hill, Budinger, Wise).
I don't think it is possible to stop all three of them. We look at the last game down in Tucson and we shut down Nic Wise (6 pts, 40 mins, 1-6 shooting, 0-5 3pt), and reigned in Budinger and Hill. The two of them combined for 30 points and 23 rebounds, which is a solid performance, but they also were forced to have the ball in their hands nearly the whole game. They had a combined 9 turnovers, shot 9-24 (37.5%) from the field and got frustrated by the zone. I think we just do what we did last time – stick Abbott on Wise and constantly harass Hill and Budinger with double and triple teams if they try and get to the rim.
6. What did the Washington schools do to beat you back to back at home? Will you call our coach and tell him?
A culmination of things. One was they played damn good basketball. They attacked the holes in the zone, nailed their outside shots (both shot over 50% on 3s) and forced us to shoot from outside. Going into those games we had, I believe, the second highest FG% of a team in the nation and we just could not make shots. From interviews with team leader Jeff Pendergraph, guys got their FG%s in their heads too much and were passing up shots they should not have been and taking shots with not much confidence. Pendergraph was banged up, Abbott was banged up. Some of these are valid excuses and some of it boils down to the fact that they came on our home court, challenged us, played some damn good basketball and exposed the fact that we were going through somewhat of an identity crisis. Are we a team who shares offensive responsilbity, or are we one who runs through and the supporting pieces shine when he takes the load off? Turns out it is the latter. Sendek forced Harden to realize this is his team and he needs to impose his will on the game every time he is on the court, whether it is through scoring 30 points, or scoring 15 while drawing double and triple teams all game and finding the open man. And you'll have to ask Coach if he will share the formula. :)