Ty Abbott and the Arizona State Sun Devils (12-18, 4-14 Pac-10) look to continue their positive momentum tonight when they take on the Oregon Ducks in the opening round of the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament in the Staples Center, located in Los Angeles.
With their only hope of playing in March Madness being an improbable run through the conference tournament, the first step is to defeat a Ducks team that has already fallen twice to ASU in 2011.
Abbott, one of ASU's three seniors, scored 44 points in his final home series last weekend, dropping 22 points against both Oregon and Oregon State in Tempe. Rihards Kuksiks and Jamelle McMillan have also played significant roles in the recent resurgence of the Sun Devils, who have won 3 of their last 5 games and are playing well.
Oregon has fallen on hard times recently, but finished the regular season with a seventh seed in the conference tournament, a step up from 2009-10 when they finished in ninth place in the conference. They are led by E.J. Singler, brother of Duke star Kyle Singler, who averages around ten points a game for the Ducks. They have recently opened up an incredible, $200 million basketball arena and should be back on the basketball map within the next few years.
Before the game, Addicted To Quack, SB Nation's Oregon blog, answered a few questions for House Of Sparky. Here's a glimpse at what they were talking about:
HoS: Oregon is 0-2 against the Sun Devils this season. Any reason to believe that they can turn it around on Wednesday night against ASU?
AtQ: Well, there's some hope, only because the Ducks shouldn't lose to a team like the Sun Devils 3 times, should they? Unfortunately, ASU's zone gives Oregon fits. The Ducks simply don't have a go-to player that can take down a zone. A lot of players have to be playing well to be successful. That has happened in some games, but most definitely didn't happen in the two ASU games. The Sun Devils forced the Ducks into terrible shooting, and the Ducks didn't do anything to try and attack the Sun Devil defense. A pathetic defensive effort in the second game didn't help things.
I don't think Oregon will be losing by twenty this time around, but I'm not feeling all that great about the matchup. I think it ends up being a coin toss game.
For more Arizona State Sun Devils coverage, check out House Of Sparky.