ASU Basketball: Devils Visit Cal


Tonight at 9 pm Arizona time, the ASU men’s basketball team visits the Cal Bears in conference play.

This is a critical game for ASU.  In fact, it’s a critical trip overall.  On this visit to the Bay Area, Cal is the more winnable game than Stanford. (Saturday)  The Sun Devils are coming off of their first conference win last Saturday against Colorado.  They are barely holding on to a .500 record overall and are desperate for wins to improve their conference standings.

Strategically, Coach Sendek is still searching for a lineup and rotations that will click offensively.  He’s also looking for the right combination that can put forth the defensive and rebounding effort that is needed to win.  This is crucial to ASU’s chances of gaining some momentum down the stretch to make a run in March.

On the floor, ASU just flat-out needs to play more consistent.  They have shown the ability to compete.  Truly compete.  But they have stretches where they look disinterested or not on the same page.  Besides Arizona and Utah, this team is comparably as talented as anyone else in the PAC-12 conference.  So, it just comes down to execution and hard work.

Clearly, the emotional spark plug for ASU is senior forward Shaquielle McKissic.  McKissic is the catalyst for the rest of the team with his intensity and attacking style.  It falls on him to bring his “A game” and prod his teammates to follow him with the same intensity and focus.  This leads to better shooting nights and better rebounding efforts.

There is hardly any more room for error.  ASU fans might be looking at the schedule and have already figured it out.  Essentially, ASU needs to win the rest of their home games and steal one game on the road on the rest of their trips.  That’s a tall order, but not impossible.

It starts with Cal tonight.  A road win there sets the formula in motion.  Hopefully, this Sun Devil squad can learn that the statistics, the X’s and O’s will take care of themselves if they play with intensity and focus.