Fresh off a 73-58 loss to rival Arizona, the Sun Devils must find a way to regain their early season momentum as they begin Pac-12 Tournament play in Las Vegas.
Arizona State was soundly defeated by Arizona at McKale Center in Tucson, as the Wildcats had a 15-point halftime lead, built it up to as much as 23, and provided coach Sean Miller’s seniors with a rousing send-off.
With the loss, ASU went from possibly earning a bye in the Pac-12 Tournament to finishing at 9th overall in the conference.
The Sun Devils will face No. 8 seed Stanford in Round One tournament play at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Tip-off is at 12:06 pm Pacific time on Wednesday. The winner of this game will play No. 1 seed UCLA.
The ASU-Stanford matchup is a tough one to handicap.
Stanford beat the second-seeded Cal Golden Bears by 10 or more both times the cross-Bay rivals faced off as well as added another quality win by thumping Oregon by 24. On the downside, the Cardinal fell twice to USC, Colorado and UCLA.
The Stanford offense features 6-foot-10 forward Dwight Powell, who averages 15.1 points per game, and guard Chasson Randle, who averages 14.3.
Arizona State resided in the upper echelons of the Pac-12 standings for a good part of 2012-2013 campaign, but closed out the regular season with four straight losses. However, the Sun Devils have the tools to make a run in this year’s tournament. And they like to keep fans on the edge of their seats; ASU won three out of four overtime games against conference opponents.
Star freshmen point guard Jahii Carson, who posts nearly 18 points per game, paces the Arizona State attack. Senior wing Carrick Felix is a proven performer who leads the Pac-12 with 12 double-doubles.
The last time ASU and Stanford met, the Cardinal came away with a hard-fought three-point victory.