ASU Basketball: Fifth-ranked Sun Devils host Vanderbilt

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 10: Shannon Evans II
LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 10: Shannon Evans II /

It’s back to the Valley of the Sun as ASU basketball takes on the Vanderbilt Commodores, aiming to improve to 10-0 for the first time in school history.

After shocking the nation last Sunday with their double-digit victory over then-No. 2 Kansas, ASU basketball has propelled themselves into the five spot of the Associated Press Top 25. As one of only four remaining undefeated teams in the NCAA, the Sun Devils are receiving major national attention.

Snagging a win against the Commodores is something the Devils will once again, have to earn. A March Madness Tournament member in 2017, this once formidable team has regressed this season.

Vanderbilt is sitting on a less than stellar record of 3-6. Some could say that this record is self imposed. Head coach Bryce Drew has always been a proponent of scheduling tough games. Last season the Commodores had the No. 1 ranked strength of schedule in all of the NCAA, according to Rating Percentage Index.

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With the 24th hardest schedule in the nation (according to RPI), their once successful tactic of scheduling tough games has backfired. Despite the team’s struggles, consistent production from Jeff Roberson, Riley LaChance and Matthew Fisher-Davis is keeping the Commodores afloat.  Together the trio accounts for 55 percent of Vanderbilt’s scoring.

ASU comes into Sunday’s game with a massive advantage. Boasting the fourth best offense in the country at 91.8 points per game and four players averaging 14.0+ PPG, the Sun Devils will have another chance to run away with a victory.

Expect dominance from the prolific pairing of Shannon Evans II and Tra Holder against Vanderbilt. Fresh off winning the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week award, Evans comes into Sunday’s game playing the best basketball of his career at ASU.

The pairing has given ASU an identity of pace, space, and playing to win. Evans (44.6 percent) and Holder (46.3 percent) have been lights out from beyond the arc, and together average 40 points per game. The Commodores have the 269th ranked defense nationally, and could struggle to slow down ASU’s devastating duo.

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Arizona State must continue to move the ball, play fast on defense and win the ‘easy ones’. With a rivalry game against the suddenly resurgent Arizona Wildcats only 13 days away, expect ASU to be running on all cylinders Sunday against the Commodores.