Seven of the last nine games ASU has played have been decided by five points or less. USC lost an exciting 98-93 overtime contest in Tempe on Jan. 24.
The Sun Devils hope to keep their NCAA Tournament prospects alive by defeating the Trojans on the road. They are also banking on a pair of marquee wins over Colorado and single wins over UCLA, USC and California.
Arizona State fell to UCLA 79-74 in overtime on Thursday night. The game featured a determined effort by team leaders Jahii Carson and Carrick Felix. Carson, a freshman point guard, scored 22 points and had seven assists against the Bruins. He is averaging 17.7 points and 5.1 assists. Only one freshman in the past sixteen years (Ben Woodside, 2005-06, North Dakota State) has averaged 17 points and five assists. Felix, a senior wing, contributed 16 points and 18 rebounds versus UCLA, the most by a Sun Devil player since the 2006-07 season.
USC has lost its last three games to Arizona State, but leads the all-time series, 51-35 (two wins in 2008 were later vacated due to NCAA penalty). The Trojans are seventh in the conference, a half-game behind ASU. In its upset win over 11th-ranked Arizona on Wednesday, USC’s three seven-footers had 11 points, 14 rebounds and blocked eight shots. USC outscored Arizona inside, 42-32.
Today is Senior Day for USC interim coach Bob Cantu and his squad, and the Trojans have won 13 consecutive Senior Days before losing to Oregon State in 2010. USC lost to Washington State in last season’s home finale, but is 14-2 in the last 16 Senior Days.