Saturday, January 22nd, 4:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bank of America Arena (10,000) -- Seattle, Washington. Television: FSN. Home Record: Arizona St. 5-3, Washington 10-0. Away Record: Arizona St. 2-5, Washington 3-2. Neutral Record: Arizona St. 2-1, Washington 1-2. Conference Record: Arizona St. 1-5, Washington 6-1. Series Record: Arizona State leads, 36-34.
GAME NOTES: The 20th-ranked Washington Huskies are set to host the struggling Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pac-10 Conference affair.
Losses in four of the last five outings have dropped Arizona State to 1-5 in Pac-10 action, clearly overshadowing a respectable 9-9 overall mark. The last two defeats have come by double figures, including a 78-61 loss to Washington State on the road. Arizona State is the only Pac-10 team to post 20 or more wins in each of the last three seasons, but that streak is about to come to an end.
As for Washington, it has played tremendous ball over the last month, winning eight of the last nine games to move to 14-4 overall and 6-1 in conference action. The Huskies cruised past Arizona on Thursday by an 85-68 final and may very well be the best team in the conference. Lorenzo Romar's group is 10-0 at home and heavily favored this afternoon.
Arizona State owns a 36-34 series advantage over Washington, and the teams split a pair of meetings last season.
The offensively-challenged Sun Devils are generating a mere 62.9 ppg this season on 42 percent shooting from the floor, overshadowing the fact that they are holding opponents to 64.3 ppg on 41.6 percent field goal efficiency. Rebounding has been a negative area for ASU, which has just two double-digit scorers in the fold. Ty Abbott leads the way with 13.5 ppg, but his 39.7 percent field goal efficiency hasn't helped the cause. As for Trent Lockett, who checks in with 13.3 ppg, he is shooting 54.8 percent from the floor. Abbott scored 16 points against Washington State on Thursday, while teammate Jamelle McMillan added 10 points. Unfortunately for ASU, it shot a woeful 32.8 percent from the field and permitted the Cougars to make good on 51.7 percent of their field goal attempts. A 41-34 rebounding disadvantage also hurt the cause.
Romar's Huskies get the job done at both ends of the court, as they are racking up 87.0 ppg while limiting opponents to 67.7 ppg on 39.8 percent shooting from the floor. Strong rebounding has been key to Washington's success, as the club is securing 6.5 rpg more than the opposition. There are three double-digit scorers in the fold for the Huskies, and standout guard Isaiah Thomas leads the way as expected with 16.8 ppg in addition to his 5.7 apg. Matt Bryan-Amaning checks in with 15.4 ppg on the strength of 58 percent shooting from the floor, and he is ripping down 7.7 rpg as well. Justin Holiday rounds out the trio with 12.9 ppg on 53.9 percent shooting, and he is a solid rebounder as well. Both Thomas and Holiday scored 22 points in the victory over Arizona last time out, and Bryan-Amaning pitched in 18 points.
The Huskies will continue their winning ways with a romp over ASU today. The Sun Devils simply don't have the offensive firepower necessary to keep this contest close.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington 79, Arizona State 55