This afternoon, the Cal Bears invade Wells Fargo Arena to take on the ASU men’s basketball team. Tip off is at 4 pm and can be seen on the PAC-12 network.
For ASU, this is another chance to assert themselves atop the conference standings. It’s also an opportunity to take another step towards securing a first round bye in Las Vegas, as well as solidifying their spot in the NCAA tournament.
Cal is one of the four teams (including ASU) that are all tied up in or around third/fourth place in the conference. They have an excellent team and are still in the running for the post-season.
For ASU, their focus for this game should once again be on themselves. Yes, they should be diligently studying their scouting reports and looking for tendencies on film. Yes, they need to have a plan for Cal’s Justin Cobbs. But their main focus should be on their own effort.
The last two games for ASU are a perfect study in the importance of effort and concentration. Their uninspired loss at Utah followed by their hungry effort against Stanford shows the duality of this team.
The Sun Devil’s desire can be seen in their body language, their hustle on the boards and their awareness on defense. It can also be seen by their movement on offense. All of those things better be on display or they will lose to the Golden Bears.
Urgency, hunger, desire–all these descriptors fuel the focus for any team. That focus ends up manifesting itself in the stat column. It contributes to shooting. It causes turnovers on defense. It takes charges and comes up with loose balls.
As soon as ASU embraces the fact that their destiny really lies within themselves, they will be a dangerous team. They have all the tools. They just need vocal and demonstrative leadership from team captains to set the tone.
Coach Herb Sendek should call out his leaders; Jahii Carson, Jordan Bachynski and Jermaine Marshall to lead the charge both mentally and physically. Bachynski, in particular could really help his team by returning to the form he put on display three weeks ago. He’s got to be the menace he once was on the inside.
So, it’s a feeble exercise to start mapping out X’s and O’s to win this game. Those are just details. And those details tend to take care of themselves when this team plays with pure passion and focused energy.
ASU fans are undoubtedly hoping to see that passion and energy tonight.