(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
For the first time since December 16th, Arizona State will hit the road as they travel to Tucson for the 2014-15 season’s first installment of the Territorial Cup against rival Arizona. The Sun Devils aim to remain undefeated in Pac-12 play.
Last Monday, no. 18 Arizona State (13-1) notched another resounding victory over a quality team, defeating Washington State 78-64. ASU has been dominant in Pac-12 play, winning both of its games thus far in double-digit fashion over teams that came in with a combined three losses.
Arizona (7-6) has not faired quite as well in Pac-12 play, instead losing both of its games by double-digits, but the Wildcats can’t be too disappointed in their season as a whole. With seven wins so far, Arizona has already surpassed its 2013-14 season total of five victories.
Keys to the Game:
Arizona is 11th in the Pac-12 in overall field goal percentage, making only 38.1% of their attempts from the field. Arizona State displayed impressive scoring defense (56.7 points per game) during non-conference play and hasn’t failed to disappoint against Pac-12 opponents. If the Sun Devils can apply pressure as they normally do, it will be tough for the Wildcats to put the ball in the hoop.
Although the Arizona State bench has showed improvement after a slow start to the year, the most recent game against Washington State was a bit of a relapse. Of the 78 points the Sun Devils scored, the bench accounted for a mere six. Due to the fact that the starters have been so impressive, Arizona State has been able to dominate even without help from the bench, but if the back-ups don’t start scoring soon, ASU could be in for some trouble against improved competition.
The Wildcats have a -0.85 turnover ratio, meaning that they turnover the ball more than they force turnovers. This bodes well for the Sun Devils, who have the second best turnover ratio in the conference at +2.93 turnovers per game. If Arizona State can take the ball away, it will create fast-break opportunities and allow them to end this one early
Elisha Davis has done extremely well filling the shoes of departed All-Conference guard Deja Mann, ranking fourth in the conference in assists per game (5.1). Davis will need to continue to facilitate in order for the Sun Devils to continue their efficiency on offense.
Arizona State has been the surprise of the conference so far with imposing wins over Washington and Washington State, while Arizona has dropped both games to those same teams by double-digits. Despite the fact that the Wildcats will be hosting, the Sun Devils will easily take the first meeting between these two rivals in a blowout 20+ point victory.
Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m. in Tucson.