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Oregon State Basketball: Arizona State Sun Devils Preview (Game 15)

The Sun Devils have dropped three of their last four.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Arizona State David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State Sun Devils (9-5, 0-1)

  • Head Coach: Bobby ******* Hurley (5th Season)
  • Top Performer: Remy Martin (18.1 PPG, 3.9 APG)
  • Points For: 72.9 PPG (169th)
  • Points Against: 68.1 PPG (169th)
  • Last Game/Streak: 75-47 Loss at Arizona (1L)

The Skinny

In the wacky, unpredictable landscape of Pac-12 basketball, maybe no team embodies the hit-or-miss quality of the league better than Arizona State.

When the Sun Devils play focused and with purpose, Bobby Hurley’s team has the ability to steamroll opponents like Georgia and St. John’s. I even saw them in person earlier this year in Connecticut against Virginia and in that contest, they were literally a few crucial plays down the stretch away from knocking off the Cavaliers at a time when Tony Bennett’s boys were trending towards the top of the national conversation.

Yet, more recently, the wacky and undisciplined edition of Arizona State has revealed itself regularly, pushing the group to three losses in their last four contests. It leaves them as hard of a team to gauge as there’s been, as they head to Corvallis for a Thursday night meeting with the Beavers.

While their statistical averages will show that Arizona State is apparently the 169th best team in the land on offense and defense alike, everything that the Sun Devils have done at their program under Bobby Hurley over the past five seasons begins at the offensive end. Arizona State’s free-flowing style has a tendency to be up-tempo and players definitely operate loosely in the ball-screen offensive sets, allowing for a collection of driving opportunities and perimeter attempts.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Arizona State
Arizona State’s Remy Martin is one of the toughest point guards in the country.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

One of the pieces who will operate this offense at almost all times is point guard Remy Martin (18.1 PPG), my personal favorite play-maker in the league, who may also be one of the Pac-12’s best defenders as well. Martin has grown by leaps and bounds at that end of the floor, after largely being typecast as a one-dimensional talent in his first two seasons.

Around Martin, Hurley always has a fleet of guards at his disposal, one of the most unique of them being Alonzo Verge Jr. (14.5 PPG), who you can learn more about below in our Player to Watch. In addition to that duo, senior Rob Edwards (8.6 PPG) and freshman Jaelen House (6.9 PPG) add depth to the back-court heavy units that Hurley likes to play, but the veteran Edwards has struggled to find any regular scoring touch in recent games.

A trio of 6’ 8” modern-era forwards who feel like they’ve been around for a while in Romello White (10.7 PPG), Taeshon Cherry (5.2 PPG) and Kimani Lawrence (4.8 PPG) round out the core of the Sun Devils rotation, while pieces like Jalen Graham (3.3 PPG) and Mickey Mitchell (1.0 PPG) will also log minutes most nights. Overall though, some of Arizona State’s struggles can be attributed to the lack of growth within the deeper part of their line-ups and their almost inability to function without Martin on the floor.

So what’s the verdict for Thursday night? It’s pretty simple. If there’s one thing you can count on when two Pac-12 teams step on the court, it’s to expect the unexpected. We’re looking at a complete toss up here between the Beavers and the Sun Devils. It’s the same as is it’s ever been in the quirky Conference of Champions.

Player To Watch

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Arizona Jacob Snow-USA TODAY Sports

Alonzo Verge Jr. (Guard - Junior)

A junior college teammate of Oregon State’s Sean Miller-Moore, Alonzo Verge Jr. had a pedestrian start to the season, before erupting for 43 points (yes, 43) off the bench in a blowout defeat at the hands of Saint Mary’s. He’s a volume shooter, microwave type of scorer who can get going at any given moment, pending he gets his chances on the offensive end.

Game Info

  • Date: Thursday, January 9th
  • Time: 8:00 PM PT
  • Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
  • Coverage: ESPNU