Arizona State Sun Devils
Pacific-10 Conference (22-10, 12-6)
Big Wins: 12/19 San Diego State (55-52), 1/8 Washington (68-51), 2/21 at Arizona (73-69)
Bad Losses: 12/31 at UCLA (70-72), 1/2 at USC (37-47), 3/11 vs Stanford (61-70)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2009, Second Round loss to Syracuse
Coach: Herb Sendek (7-7 in 7 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
Arizona State has three big time scorers who can take over any game. Derek Glasser may not be the flashiest player around, but he has been a very steady point guard and surprisingly good shooter. Glasser averages 4.8 assists per game and does a good job of keeping the Sun Devils at a slow and steady tempo. What makes Glasser so dangerous is his multi-faceted scoring. Glasser will attack the basket with ease and either find one of his teammates, finish himself or get fouled. And Glasser is the guy Arizona State wants on the line. His ability to hit the three-point shot has made him very difficult to defend.
Ty Abbott is a pure shooter. The 6-3 junior connects on 40.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and is always a threat to score 20 points on any given night. Abbott is also a solid rebounder for a player of his size and that has turned out to be very important. Rihards Kuksiks would be a small forward on most teams, but he has to play the four spot at ASU due to lack of other options. At 6-6 Kuksiks has decent size, but he spends a lot of time on the perimeter and a vast majority of his shots are from long range. Luckily, he can stretch out the defense with his consistent outside shooting.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Unfortunatley, Kuksiks is not much of a rebounder for a power forward. In fact, Coach Herb Sendek pretty much runs an eight man rotation and only one of those players is not a guard. That leaves a lot of pressure on 6-10, 257 pound center Eric Boateng. Boateng has been quite inconsistent in the scoring column, but he is almost always the team leader in rebounds. But there is nobody to help Boateng on the glass and ASU will consistently get outrebounded. Even 6-3 guard Trent Lockett has earned quite a few starts this year because he is a pretty good rebounder for a player of his stature. But even if the Sun Devils can be decent on the glass, their lack of size will cause problems on the defensive end against most opponents.
Who To Watch:
Jamelle McMillan was Arizona State’s sixth man a year ago and has stepped into a starting role this time around. He is not as prolific of a scorer as Glasser, Abbott or Kuksiks, although he is a very capable long range shooter. What McMillan does well is play defense and handle the ball. With Glasser and McMillan on the floor together, which is very often the case, this is a team that commits very few turnovers and they need to hang onto the ball since they will almost certainly lose possessions on the glass.
Derek Glasser, Senior, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 4.8 apg
Jamelle McMillan, Junior, Guard, 6.4 ppg, 2.8 apg
Ty Abbott, Junior, Guard, 11.9 ppg, 1.5 apg, 4.4 rpg
Rihards Kuksiks, Junior, Guard, 11.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Eric Boateng, Senior, Center, 8.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg
Trent Lockett, Freshman, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Jerren Shipp, Senior, Guard, 4.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Demetrius Walker, Freshman, Guard, 4.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.9 (219th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.1 (8, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.3 (81, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (31, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (21, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.1 (55, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.1 (103, 5)
Rebound Margin: -0.3 (202, 8)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (102, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (30, 1)
Follow Joel Welser's Postseason Capsules & College Basketball Previews on Twitter @Joel_Welser and on his Facebook page. Joel will be back in June for his annual Top 144 Teams in 144 Days preview on CollegeHoops.net