Tonight, the ASU men’s basketball team is in Eugene to take on the Oregon Ducks. Tip off is at 9:00 pm and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.
This game will be an intriguing match-up. There are several factors that can make this game interesting.
First, the Oregon Ducks are on a roll. They have won five games in a row. Two weeks ago, bracketologists had written off Oregon, claiming they were one of the “first four out” of the NCAA tournament. But the Ducks are relevant again, putting themselves back on the bubble. They desperately need to get a win tonight against ASU to be considered worthy of attending the Big Dance.
Secondly, ASU is also on a mini-roll, having won two in a row and playing excellent basketball. Most national experts have stated that ASU is in the tournament. But they are not a lock. If they have a miserable finish on this road trip and the conference tournament, they might get overlooked for the field of 64.
Another factor that makes this game interesting is what happened at Wells Fargo Arena on Feb. 8th. On that day, ASU beat Oregon. It was actually the last time Oregon has lost a game. In that contest, Oregon rallied from a 21 point deficit in 14 minutes. It took a Jordan Bachynski block at the buzzer to seal the victory for the Sun Devils. That game left a sour taste in the mouth of the Oregon program. They want revenge.
Also, during that game, the Oregon bench got into an ugly verbal confrontation with some fans sitting in the student section near the Oregon bench. The incident was bad enough that Oregon head coach Dana Altman made a comment about the security and safety at ASU games. The incident was publicized and talked about for a solid week. Expect a frothy crowd in Oregon tonight to pay back the Sun Devils in kind.
To top it all off, there has been some trash talk between the players. Most recently, an Oregon player claimed that they can handle (Jahii) Carson, and that all they need to do is contain (Jordan) Bachynski. Undoubtedly, sophomore guard Jahii Carson has heard that message and will try to teach the Ducks a lesson.
All these factors point to a game that will have some heightened tensions. All the history aside, both teams want to win badly. Who wants it most and who will make plays when their team needs it remains to be seen. But the PAC-12 world will find out soon enough. Basketball fans should prepare themselves for an exciting game.