ASU faces off against the #5 UCLA Bruins tonight at 8:30 in Los Angeles. The game is televised on FSN AZ but is on tape delay so if you want to watch it you have to wait until 10:30pm (unless you have FSN Prime Ticket and can watch it live) and hope you don't hear the final score beforehand. Otherwise you can listen to it live on the radio on 960AM.
ASU's trouble with talented big men will again be tested tonight as Kevin Love and his averages of 17.3ppg and 11.3rpg take the court. While the Devils haven't been able to stop post players in conference games, the problem with UCLA isn't just Kevin Love, it's everyone. The Bruins are incredibly deep and have lots of scoring options. UCLA has at least five players that can score twenty points on any given night.
Darren Collison is a complete player, Josh Shipp is a better version of ASU's Jerren Shipp, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is a versatile, extremely athletic wing, and Russell Westbrook is one of the best guards in the country that no one is talking about. I love watching Westbrook play as he's a great floor general, a capable scorer, and a great defender. Defensively, UCLA is one of the best in the country and Collision, Shipp, and Westbrook each have over 25 steals on the season.
Last year ASU held a ten point lead over UCLA in the second half at Pauley Pavilion but surrendered it in a 67-61 loss. For ASU to have a chance to win this game, the Devils will need intensity throughout the game without giving up the scoring runs that killed the team in the last three games. ASU also needs a big night out of Jeff Pendergraph and Ty Abbott to help take pressure off of James Harden. Hopefully ASU can even get an inspired game from Jerren Shipp as he faces off against his older brother.
I've also been wondering all year why UCLA has featured jerseys (and endzones) with a different colored "C" in the "UCLA." As it turns out, the "C" is supposed to commemorate the fact that UCLA is the first school to reach 100 NCAA championships. The "C" represents the Roman numeral for 100. Thought I'd pass that on to you. You are very welcome.
On Saturday, ASU meets USC in a game that should prove to be much more winnable than tonight's game. that game features another freshman phenom in O.J. Mayo. After watching him play a few times, I think the hype around Mayo is overblown. He takes too many bad shots and doesn't really make his teammates better. I guess he'll fit right in with a lot of NBA stars next year. That game is also at 8:30pm and will be live in FSN AZ and 620AM.