Pac-12 Conference play kicked off Friday, and right off the bat, a ranked opponent in Utah was defeated in overtime, and another ranked opponent in UCLA was downed in double-overtime.
The Arizona Wildcats start conference play with a matchup against the rival Arizona State Sun Devils on Sunday afternoon, so we interviewed Connor Pelton from House of Sparky to see what the odds are of ASU making it three conference upsets in the first weekend.
1. How has the Bobby Hurley era gone so far? I know it is only 13 games into the season, but how do you feel he is doing for the Sun Devils?
Connor Pelton: Hurley has completely reinvigorated the program. There seems to be a new level of excitement around the team that just wasn't there with Herb Sendek over the past few seasons. He put together a challenging non-conference slate that the Sun Devils did well against, and now we get to see if he can parlay that success into a decent Pac-12 record.
2. At this time last season, the Sun Devils were 8-6 before they ended up missing the tourney. What are the odds ASU earns a bid in March Madness, and why is it possible?
Pelton: They are certainly on the right track. Wins over Texas A&M and UNLV should help their tournament resume, and victories against Belmont and Stephen F. Austin will look a lot better in March than they do at the moment. Still, Arizona State's chances at going dancing will rely heavily on what happens in conference play. As long as the maroon and gold take care of business at home and keep the bad losses to a minimum, they have a great shot.
3. The Sun Devils have beaten Arizona in Tempe the last two times they have faced off, so for ASU to beat Arizona again, what has to happen?
Pelton: Get Kris Dunn an ASU uniform? It won't be easy, especially because I believe that in order to beat a top 10 team, it is necessary to have a superstar that can take over. The Sun Devils do not have one of those this season, but perhaps they can form a "star by committee" to spring the upset. What it will come down to is the effort on the defensive end of the floor. If Hurley can get everyone to bear down for all 40 minutes and get Arizona out of rhythm, they should have a shot in the final minutes at pulling out a win.
4. If you could bring any Wildcat to ASU, who would it be and why?
Pelton: The easy answer is Ryan Anderson. That's also the right answer. Arizona State could desperately use the services of someone with Anderson's versatility. He also brings the scoring and rebounding consistency that Hurley craves, especially with Savon Goodman being out.
5. Prediction: Does ASU take a third-straight game at home against Arizona or do the Wildcats finally solve the Curtain of Distraction and down the Devils?
Pelton: This might just be the year the Wildcats break the streak. I expect this one to be close for its entirety, with Arizona knocking down enough free throws at the end to escape with the win.
Arizona - 73, Arizona State - 70