This coming week is a critical one for ASU Basketball. After uninspiring performances against Colorado and Utah, the Sun Devils find themselves about to play what some experts call “must win” games.
“Must win” might be a stretch. Most bracketologists say ASU is still in (the NCAA tournament) after this last dismal road trip. However, if they don’t snap out of this funk and end the season with a long losing streak, they could find themselves on the outside in March.
The players should know this. They should be aware enough to know that they are technically on the bubble. Therefore, they need to start playing with urgency.
Pundits have been blaming this two game losing stretch on the “hangover effect” that followed their victory over Arizona. Maybe. Coach Sendek would probably argue that. Undoubtedly, there was some kind of emotional let-down on this road trip. It could have been a U of A hangover, it could be boredom or some other distraction.
For ASU fans, they are hoping that the leadership on this team steps up and says “enough”. It is time for ASU to get their hunger back.
Shooting woes are understandable, (although shooting is a function of focus and confidence). But getting doubled up in the rebounding department and having more turnovers than assists is a sign of apathy.
The coaching staff and the players should probably take a good look in the mirror and decide if they want to be a legitimate tournament team and play in the big dance, or if they want to host an NIT game. If the former is the case, then it’s time to play with some urgency.
ASU has the talent. They have the skills. And they have the experience to make a run this season and surprise people. But their wavering focus and effort is hurting them and their chances for success. Effort and focus are within their control, and they cannot be so simple as to only bring their best effort when they play at home.
The Sun Devils have four games to prove that they are not unpredictible and that they are worthy of post-season consideration.