Thursday night in Las Vegas, the ASU men’s basketball team was dominated by Stanford 79-58. With the loss, the Sun Devils are eliminated from the conference tournament and await their fate.
ASU could never get into a comfortable rhythm. The “Big Three” for ASU struggled to score the entire game. Jahii Carson, Jermaine Marshall and Jordan Bachynski combined for 21 total points. Both Carson and Marshall were scoreless in the first half. Bachynski was largely ineffective in the game.
Some of the ASU struggles have to be attributed to Stanford. The Cardinal played inspired, hungry, focused basketball. Their defensive game plan was executed almost perfectly. If not for a 6 minute spurt by forwards Jonathan Gillng and Bo Barnes, ASU would have been down by 20 points in the first half. However, with the contributions from the bench, ASU was only down by 3 at the break.
For the ASU program, this is obviously not the outcome they wanted. Some experts already consider ASU a bubble team to get into the NCAA tournament. Others stated that as long as ASU doesn’t get bounced or embarrassed in the first round, their spot in the Big Dance is secure. Well, ASU got bounced and embarrassed.
Despite that, Devils in Detail believes they will be part of the field of 64 in next week’s NCAA Tournament. However, there is a bigger issue to be addressed; this team needs to wake up. If not, they will be “one and done” next week and the dream of March Madness will just be a bad memory.
Last night, this ASU team failed at 3 of the 4 keys to victory put forth by Devils in Detail; they lost the rebound battle, Jordan Bachynski was ineffective, and Jahii Carson had a cold night. In fact, ASU has not really attained those keys to victory in the last 3 games. If this Sun Devil team wants a happier ending for 2014, they have to do something different.
Right now, it appears that Herb Sendek’s squad has not figured out that in basketball, the only “X factor” or variable on a given night is shooting. Teams and players can be hot or cold. It’s an unpredictable part of the game on both ends of the court. That’s basketball. But everything else; rebounding, defense, screening, movement-can be controlled. Nothing can prevent them from doing that properly and with great energy.
Having an off night shooting (or the other team having a hot night) is not an excuse for getting out-rebounded, committing silly fouls or carelessly turning the ball over.
College basketball experts swear that ASU has the all the right pieces–they have the talent at the right positions to be a great team. But they are not getting it done. So, for now, they have to wait and see. Hopefully, this 3 game skid and their humbling loss in Las Vegas will wake them up to the reality of the task at hand.