The Arizona State Sun Devils will look to wrap up their weekend road trip of the Washington schools, with a huge road win over the Washington Huskies. With a win tonight, ASU would complete the season sweep of both Washington State and Washington, as well as earn a leg up in the Pacific Ten Conference race.
But to be quite honest, that is much easier said than done. Back on January 8 in Tempe, the Huskies were dealt their worst loss of the season (68-51), at the hands of Herb Sendek and the Sun Devils.
Arizona State's stifling zone defense limited the Washington Huskies to their lowest point total of the season. And yes, you guessed right, with Washington playing at home today, everyone knows that ASU will get all they asked for, and more in this game.
As if the task of knocking off one of the hottest teams in the conference was tough enough, the Washington Huskies have only lost twice on their home floor, at Edmundson Pavilion in the past two seasons.
The Huskies have not only beat quality opponents at home in recent years, but Washington has ran teams out of the building, beating Stanford by 33 and Washington State by the same total earlier this season.
For the Sun Devils to have success in this contest, ASU must control the tempo, utilize their zone defense to force tough shots, and control the backboard by winning the rebound margin.
Although the Sun Devils' defense was the story in the first contest between Washington and ASU, in recent weeks, shooting guard Ty Abbott has sparked the offense in two straight double digit victories.
In ASU's 80-71 win in Pullman, WA Thursday night, Abbott contributed with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Even against Stanford and California the week before, Abbott scored a combined 49 points to help the Sun Devils split the series between the Bay Area schools.
However, the scoring has been a bright spot for Herb Sendek's offense, but Abbott's contributions have expanded to rebounding as well.
Abbott has changed his style following a demoralizing performance against in-state rival Arizona two weeks ago. Since that game, Abbott has totaled at least 8 rebounds in each of the four contests since, and has even added three blocked shots to his stat sheet.
That's not bad considering Abbott stands at a meager 6'3", not exactly the ideal size for a rebounding machine.
Herb Sendek's crew has exuded confidence and total team effort since their loss to Arizona at home on January 23, and their performances as a team on the court, has shown that.
Another total team effort for 40 minutes, has to be in the works today, as well as not turning the ball over. Washington leads the conference in 17 forced turnovers a game. If Arizona State wants to stay atop the Pac-10 standings Abbott and company will have to bring their "A" game to the court, but it will not be easy on the road in Seattle.
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