Here are some keys to victory for the Arizona State men’s basketball team in their match-up with Colorado Saturday night in Tempe.
1) Jahii Carson Needs to Stay in “Attack Mode”
Sophomore point guard Jahii Carson is an exceptional talent. He is at his best when he is aggressively attacking the defense with dribble penetration. During the last two games, he has “rediscovered” his aggressive style. He needs to stay in that mode. Coach Herb Sendek would be wise to continue to give Carson the freedom to create offense in this manner. Coach Sendek might also consider adding more high pick and rolls with Carson to put the defense under more stress. Even if Colorado employs a zone, which they have done this season, Carson needs to pick his spots for dribble penetration. With Carson’s quickness, the concept is still the same, no matter what defense the opponent plays; beat a defender off the dribble and drive to the basket, draw help, then pass to an open teammate. This “quick hitter” or “2-man game” style of play is essential for ASU.
2) Role Players Must Carry Their Load
This is true for any team. However, it is especially true for the Sun Devils. The shooters need to be on point. They don’t need to be perfect, but Jonathan Gilling, Shaquielle McKissic, Jermaine Marshall and company have to be focused and score their “average” for this game.
3) Feed the Big Guy
Center Jordan Bachynsky is a mismatch for just about anybody on the Colorado team. The Buffs 6-10 center, Josh Scott is a good player, but he probably isn’t good enough to handle Bachynsky by himself. Whether Colorado coach Boyle decides to play man to man or zone, the Sun Devils need to try to get the ball to their center.
4) Stay Hungry
This shouldn’t be a problem. This ASU team is mature enough to realize their situation. But they must ensure that they aren’t so happy with Thursday’s win over Utah, that they forget to play hard against Colorado. The Buffaloes are struggling right now. They have lost their best player, Spencer Dinwiddie to a knee injury and dropped 3 of their last 4 games. Even so, Colorado has played tough in all their games. They are still a worthy team. ASU must guard against complacency and bring their best effort to this crucial game.
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