The Sun Devils are 8-1 for the first time since James Harden left the building. They started the 2008-09 season 12-1 and finished the season 25-10 and were ranked all season long. They defeated Temple in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and lost to the No. 3 seeded Syracuse in the second round.
Prior to that, the Devils have only started better than 8-1 on three other occasions in the past 38 seasons. The 1974-75 team obtained an incredible 15-1 start en route to a 25-4 record and an Elite Eight appearance. This squad was coached by the legendary Ned Wulk and led by Lionel Hollins, the current Memphis Grizzlies head coach.
After facing DePaul on Wednesday night, the Sun Devils' non-conference schedule has three games remaining against Dartmouth, at Texas Tech and Coppin State. Those teams have a combined record of 8-14. I firmly believe that the Sun Devils won't have a problem in matching the 12-1 record set by Harden and company.
Their first conference game is against a struggling Utah team so it is ultimately possible that they could surpass the 12-1 record and have the second best start in school history. Their next game is against defending Pac-12 Champion, Colorado—when the season gets real.
Here are the five keys to why they have started so hot and how to maintain this level of play.