Arizona State (10-20) vs. Stanford (20-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 7, 9:10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Staples Center (18,997) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: FSN. Home Record: ASU 7-10, Stanford 14-3. Away Record: ASU 2-8, Stanford 5-6. Neutral Record: ASU 1-2, Stanford 1-1. Conference Record: ASU 6-12, Stanford 10-8. Series Record: Stanford leads, 42-30.
GAME NOTES: An inconsistent team over the last few weeks, Stanford tries to get it together tonight as it clashes with Arizona State in the first round of the 15th annual Pac-12 Conference Tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Winners of back-to-back games just once since the middle of January, the seventh-seeded Cardinal has won this event only once with a 77-66 triumph over Washington back in 2004. Stanford opened the 2011-12 campaign with five straight wins and 10 in the first 11 outings, but when it came time to confront the rest of the Pac-12, particularly in the second half of the league slate, the Cardinal was somewhat exposed.
As for the Sun Devils, a team which is just 5-13 in this event over the years and has appeared in just a single title game (2009), waited until the very end of the regular season to post consecutive wins with positive outcomes against USC and Arizona at home.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Sun Devils trail by a count of 42-30 after losing at Maples Pavilion last month, 68-44. Stanford has taken four straight over ASU.
The winner of this meeting heads to the quarterfinals on Thursday to clash with second-seeded California.
One of the weakest scoring teams in the league this season, Arizona State produced just 60.0 ppg which was 10th in the conference and ahead of only Utah and USC who were dragged through the campaign. In search of a positive note, the Sun Devils did pace the conference in defensive rebounding with 29.8 per game, yet that still only gave the squad a rebounding advantage of less than two per contest. Trent Lockett leads the group in scoring with his 13.3 ppg and is also first on the glass with close to six per game, his proximity to the basket explaining how he was able to connect on 50.2 percent of his field goal chances. Carrick Felix checks in with 10.6 ppg as he was second on the team in three-pointers made with 38.
The only player to have started every game for Stanford this season, it only makes sense that Josh Owens is also the most important performer on the roster. Owens was second on the team in scoring with 12.1 ppg and led the way on the glass with close to six rebounds per outing, an effort that provided the Cardinal with the largest rebounding margin among the teams in the Pac-12. One of the better field goal shooters in the conference at 59.4 percent, Owens could stand some extra practice at the free-throw line where he is just 60.2 percent accurate. Because Owens is having his issues at the charity stripe, the team as a whole is down to only 65.4 percent at the line entering the tournament. Chasson Randle (13.1 ppg) and Aaron Bright (11.0 ppg) also play crucial roles in the offense for Stanford.
Arizona State could catch lightning in a bottle for this meeting, but considering how poorly the team played against the Cardinal earlier in the season, this is a game that Stanford should be able to control.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 68, Arizona State 57
03/07 10:33:35 ET