Tonight, ASU takes on Stanford at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Tip off is at 9:00 pm and being televised on ESPNU.
A look at some keys to victory:
It doesn’t take a world-class basketball analyst to arrive at the conclusion that if a team wants to win a basketball game, they must shoot well. But ASU’s season hinges on their outside shooting, particularly from their role players. Obviously, it would be nice if Carson and Marshall knock down some shots from long-range. But the Sun Devils desperately need good shooting from Gilling, Barnes, McKissic and anyone else off the bench. The Arizona Republic’s Doug Haller found a statistic; when ASU shoots over 40% from behind the arc, they are 16-0.
It is critical for the role players to knock down the open looks created by Carson and Marshall.
Again, pretty obvious, but also ridiculously important in basketball. Second chance opportunities on offense while limiting the same for your opponent is crucial in order to win games. The last two games, ASU has been out-rebounded. For a team that has comparable talent, (like ASU), rebounding is a function of effort and awareness. Rebounds are a result of work. It’s a team effort. This Sun Devil team cannot accept being outworked. If they lose, then they lose, but they cannot accept getting out-hustled, especially on their home court.
3) Inside Presence
During this last recent road trip, senior center Jordan Bachynski has not been the inside presence that he normally is. Bachynski is a huge part of this Sun Devil team and the success they’ve had this season. He absolutely must show up and be a force inside. He doesn’t have to dominate and carry the team on his shoulders, but he’s got to play well and be a factor. He’s got to score and rebound in the double figures, stay out of foul trouble and block at least 5 shots to give his chance a team to win.
4) Hunger Games
This is not a statistic or a part of basketball, but ASU must play hungry. This team has the talent, the coaching, the skills and the experience to be one of the best teams in the conference. But none of that matters if you don’t play hard. Many talented teams have gone by the wayside because they played disinterested, sloppy basketball. This ASU team has to step up and not allow that to happen. They absolutely must play the remainder of the season with urgency, hunger, desire and determination. They must play as if this game determines their future. Because in a round about way–it does.