No. 7 Arizona MBB vs. ASU preview


The Arizona men’s basketball team defeated ASU in a home game in McKale Center on Jan. 29. The teams stayed neck and neck up until the end with a final score of 67-56. 

Aidan Alperstein

After a two-game sweep of UCLA and USC over the weekend, the Arizona men’s basketball team takes the short hour and a half drive up to Tempe to battle the ASU Sun Devils. The Wildcats were tasked with another brief stint between games, only having one day to prepare for rivals ASU after having one day to get ready for USC.

The 7-13 Sun Devils are coming off a heroic triple-overtime victory over the UCLA Bruins on Saturday night. This win happened to give Arizona a two-game lead of first place of the Pac-12, giving them some cushion headed into the last month of the regular season. The Sun Devils’ victory will only result in more fans heading to Desert Financial Arena tonight to watch the in-state rivalry. ASU head coach Bobby Hurley had not seen a packed crowd due to a sluggish conference record of 3-7.

The Sun Devils notoriously struggle on the offensive end, shooting a poor 38% from the field and 28% from deep. The two teams squared off just a little over a week ago. The Sun Devils shocked the Wildcats as the two teams were tied at the break, with Arizona ultimately squeezing out the win. ASU’s D.J Horne shot the lights out early in the first half in this game. The Wildcats came out flat and did not play “Arizona basketball” until late in the second, edging out the 11-point victory.

Related: Arizona MBB gets back on track at home vs ASU

With only one day of preparation, head coach Tommy Lloyd can be expected to focus on the defensive end structuring different ways to slow down Horne, as he was responsible for most of the team’s offense. Arizona will likely keep it simple on the other side of the ball. ASU has lacked a “true” interior presence, so pounding the ball inside and utilizing his bigs will probably be the team’s first half-court option. Hopefully, Arizona will be able to get back on track at the free-throw line, as the team has been struggling tremendously as of late.

This will be the first of a three-game road trip for the Wildcats. However, the Wildcats will return home after tonight’s game before a two-game set up in Washington against Washington State and the University of Washington.

Tomorrow night the Arizona men’s basketball team will take on the Sun Devils at 7 p.m. in Tempe, Arizona.

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