Scouting Report: ASU

Scouting Report: ASU

ASU is closing out their season, while Arizona preps for the Pac-10 Tourney. Neither team has much to gain or lose, but should be psyched up for this rivalry game.

No. 22 Arizona (18-8, 10-7) vs. Arizona State (10-16, 4-13)
Date: Sunday, March 7, 2004
Time: 2 p.m. MST
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center (14,545), Tucson, Ariz.
Radio: Wildcat Radio Network (Brian Jeffries/Joe Nehls)
TV: CBS-TV (Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel)

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Arizona State at a glance
Coach: Rob Evans
Location: Tempe, AZ
Starters Returning: 2
2002-03 Record: 20-12 (11-7)
Conference: Pac-10
Post Season: NCAA second round
Last Meeting: Arizona won 93-74 in Tempe. The Wildcats lead the series 131-73.

Good Wins: Temple
Bad Loses: Northwestern

Team Leaders
Scoring: Ike Diogu 22.9 ppg
Rebounding: Diogu 8.7 rpg
Assists: Jason Braxton 4.8 apg

LAST TIME OUT: Arizona handled Washington State 72-60 in Tucson. The Devils lost to Washington 96-72.

OVERVIEW: The biggest story surrounds the fans. After Lute Olson was verbally abused by ASU's student section, many wonder how the Arizona fans will treat Rob Evans who defended his fans.

Olson has said that he hopes the UA fans act with class, but the temptation to ride Evans may be too tough to pass by.

The Sun Devils are down, but this is their season. They have nothing else to play for, so in essence this is their tournament.

The heart and soul of ASU is Ike Diogu. The sophomore power forward leads the Pac-10 in scoring and is a force on the boards. He and Phoenix native Channing Frye have formed a bit of a rivalry and that should intensify as the two are probably the best big men on the Pac-10.

"Channing has a lot of motivation," added Olson. "The thing we don't want him to do is to take it personally. This is about their team against our team. I think he will play very well."

Arizona will likely use a 1-3-1 zone to deny Diogu the ball and aid Frye in terms of picking up fouls. The Cats won't use the zone exclusively, as they need to work on their man-to-man defense.

The Devils are a poor shooting team. They have a lot of atheletes, but not a lot of "basketball players". Essentially, as Diogu goes, so go the Devils.

Their athelticism makes them a good defensive team at times. They will extend the defense out against the Wildcat guards in an effort to make them attack the basket and limit their three-point looks.

"They really get out and harass the ball," Olson said. "They are very aggressive defensively and on the boards. They are the best offensive rebounding teams that we've played to this point of the season."

BEST PLAYER: Diogu is one of the better post players in the nation. The big man has great strength and can score inside and out. The Devils need him to take over the game and free up other scorers.

ASU'S STRENGTHS: ASU is a very good rebounding team. They have athletic forwards who get to the glass. They shoot very well inside the arc. They have some good depth.

ASU'S WEAKNESSES: ASU is inconsistent and have struggled against teams they should be better than. They are not a good outside shooting team.

OUTLOOK: ASU needs to control the pace and hope the Cats are cold from the outside. If the Wildcat guards are hot, they should win. If they struggle then ASU has a chance.

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