Devil’s Country – ASU Sports Report

March 3, 2008

Tournament Bound?

The Sun Devils made their case a little bit stronger with last weekends convincing win over USC.  OJ Mayo looked like the superstar he is, but James Harden and company for the Devils played another solid defensive game.  Not to mention the offense had some shining moments for the Devils.  They got a few shots to fall in a row that helped pull out a 20 point lead at one point.  Give credit to the Trojans (aka OJ Mayo) for the comeback attempt, but ASU put them in too deep of a hole. 

Harden continues to amaze me with the nonchalant approach that somehow turns into around 20 each game.  How many other freshmen out there are shooting above 50%? 

Two games are all that remain in the regular season.  Oregon and Oregon State on the road is all that stands in the way for the Devils and a trip to the big dance.  If they win both, they will be tournament bound for the first time since Ike Diogu donned the maroon and gold.  If they stumble at all in the next two, they are going to have to make a loud splash in the Pac-10 Tournament, perhaps having to win it all. 

It seems like forever since I have felt confident about getting to the big show.  A duck and a beaver are all that stands in our way.  Two wins this weekend gives us a nice little win streak going into the post-season.  Anything can happen once you get there.

February 29, 2008

What Could Have Been…

Filed under: Basketball — Matt Sawyer @ 8:21 am

Fot the First 15 minutes of the game last night between the Sun Devils and the Bruins of UCLA, ASU was dead even in terms of poor shooting and the tied score at 11.  Then UCLA woke up and put us in the rear-view mirror.  The game was decided in the last 5 minutes of the first half on an 18 to 7 run. 

The Devil’s never really had a chance in the second half.  It would have been a nice game to win, but nothing is hurt with a loss to a better team. 

Now all the focus has to turn to Saturday.  A win Saturday against USC keeps the Devils from having to sweep the Oregon schools next weekend on the road.  USC is coming off a big win in Tucson.  Hopefully they are still celebrating and we can catch them sleeping. 

On a side note, what is going on with Pendergraph?  I have never seen him play so bad.  Anytime he goes up against anyone halfway decent, he disappears.  I never thought I’d say it, but I would have rather seen Boateng in the lineup over Pendergraph. 

February 28, 2008

Maybe We Can Get The Two Wins Out Of The Way Now

Everyone knows the Devils need two more wins to control their own destiny for the NCAA Tournament.  How about a sweep of the LA schools this week at home?(UCLA tonight and USC on Saturday)  Then we can just go off and celebrate the next few weeks rather than bite down our fingernails in anticipation.  Well, I like the sound of it.

 The Sun Devils would have to play a nearly flawless game for the unthinkable to happen, but I still like our chances tonight against UCLA.  This is a great test to see if we are anywhere near the talent level of the top tiered teams in the country.   Harden and Pendergraph are going to have to be on tonight, along with Kuksiks and Abbott, who must have the deep shots falling for the Devils to be in this one.  If we are in it late, who knows, we just might have a chance. 

I just really hope Kevin Love gets shut down, at least a little.  They should send the Boat in to pick up his five fouls all on Love.  That ought to slow him down.   

February 27, 2008

Let Me Know if You Need Help Recruiting

There are some big time names circulating around the Sun Devils in both Basketball and Football.  

In basketball…Renardo Sidney, the #1 PF in the nation for the class of 2009,  Jeremy Tyler, a five star center prospect for the class of 2010

In football…Corey Adams and Devon Kennard are two highly regarded defensive linemen from in-town, Justin Chaisson is another top defensive lineman from Nevada

Recruiting seems simple to me…bring them to campus…how can they say no?

 ASU Coeds

February 26, 2008

Devils in the 2008 NFL Combine

Filed under: Football — Matt Sawyer @ 2:54 pm
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ASU Players – Height, Weight, 40-Yard Dash Times, Draft Prediction 

Josh Barrett – 6’2″, 225 lbs, 4.35 speed, #9 Safety, Late First Day/Early Second Day

Mike Pollack – 6’3″, 299 lbs, 5.05 speed, #1 Center (11th OL), Mid to Late First Day  

Ryan Torain – 6’0″, 213 lbs, 4.64 speed, #23 RB, Late Second Day

February 25, 2008

Devils Get the “Must Win” Game Saturday

I felt going into Saturday’s game, that the Devils had to win in order to stay alive with the NCAA Tournament committee.  Not only did they win, but they looked good doing it.  It has been a while since the Devils have had a nice convincing win. 

As I have said all year, when the outside shots fall, we are one tough team to beat.  Glasser, Abbott, Kuk, and Shipp got it going against the Huskies.  We can always count on Harden putting up some numbers.  Pendergraph has been hit and miss this year, so the focus going into the last four games has to be the outside shot. 

Next on the list of big time upsets for the Devils, UCLA.  Thursday at home is a game that can put us into an elite category in terms of big time wins against top tier opponents.  It might be a long shot in wishing for a win like that.  Then Saturday the Devils will host USC before finishing up the Pac-10 with the Oregon schools. 

Just two out of the next four should stamp our resume into the NCAA tournament.  Regardless of what happens, Herb has done a masterful job with this team and has put Sun Devil basketball back on the map.

February 22, 2008

Shots Still Aren’t Falling

Filed under: Basketball — Matt Sawyer @ 8:12 am
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Once again, the shots just won’t fall.  You have to give credit to Washington St.  They put on a great defensive show.  Holding any team to 47 points will usually equate into a win. 

Did anyone else notice Pendergraph stepping further, and further away from the basket?  I know he has a little range, but do we really need him shooting 20 footers?  I don’t know how a man of his size still hasn’t picked up on any low post moves. 

We were in it most of the way, but not having a low post presence and turnovers kept us from ever really having a shot at winning. 

Now our season might rest on Saturday night’s game against Washington, who is coming off of an upset win over Arizona.  And once again, in order to win, we have to find an outside side and have an low post presence.   

February 21, 2008

Round 2 vs. Washington St.

The Cougars might have given the Devils a shot to the mouth in the final seconds at Wells Fargo Arena the last time these two met, but this time (hopefully) they won’t have the worst referee crew in the nation working the game.  I hate to use the ref excuse, but how do you not call a foul on the last second drive, at home, to win the game, when Harden goes flying to the ground after getting mugged?

 Lets just hope this one is decided by the players and not the officials. 

A few things to watch for: 

  • Ty Abbott – How will he follow up his 30 point game?  Can he stay hot?
  • Jeff Pendergraph – Can he stay out of foul trouble and be a contributor in this one?
  • James Harden – Can he get back on track as a player of the year candid

This is one of those games that could really spring board the Devils into the Tournament spot light.  They already have good wins of the likes of Xavier, Stanford, and Arizona (twice).  Adding Washington St. and USC or UCLA, would put us in a great position to get to the big dance.

February 20, 2008

What’s a Pre-season Rank Worth?

Filed under: Baseball — Matt Sawyer @ 8:21 am
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I have got to be honest, its hard to follow all the turnover that goes on in college baseball.  But, with that said I still try to follow the Devils baseball team. (and with good reason this year)  They enter into this season ranked #1 in the nation in one poll. 

I just love watching the regionals, super regionals, and the college world series.  That is some of the best baseball to watch.   I love the drama in Omaha.

Lets just hope that this year Brett Wallace is ready to carry the torch for the Devils through the playoffs and not just the regular season.   

February 19, 2008

Best Devils Memory

If you had to pick out your greatest Sun Devil athletics memory, what would it be?

For me, I wasn’t around for the Frank Kush or Ned Wulk eras, so I can’t go back as far as some might. 

I grew up watching the likes of Mario Bennett, Steven Smith, Ron Riley, and Jeremy Veal, but nothing will top watching Eddie House go off for 61 against Cal.  I don’t think he could miss that game.  That was the best single performance I have seen.

My close, second best, memory would have to be Mario Bennett against U of A getting a steal and going in for the reverse dunk.  I think it was Dick Vitale that yelled out, “What did he have in his breakfast cereal?” 

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