Who: Arizona State Sun Devils (6-9, 2-3) at Stanford Cardinal (10-6, 3-3)
When: Saturday, Jan. 22, 9 p.m. Arizona time
Where: Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif.
Line (Via SI Sportsbook): Stanford (-6)
The Arizona State Sun Devils hit the hardwood with a chance to do something they have yet to do this season: win a second straight conference bout.
The Sun Devils narrowly edged Utah 64-62 in Tempe and now turn their attention to the formidable Stanford Cardinal Saturday night at Maples Pavilion. ASU has been a victim of COVID-related postponements like many teams across the nation.
The Sun Devils have played only three games since Dec. 19 and their loss to Cal on Jan. 2 was sandwiched between a number of postponements. That left the team rusty as it ran straight into a 75-57 loss at the hands of Colorado.
The team did rebound with the close victory over Utah earlier this week as Kimani Lawrence exploded for a game-high 18 points. Lawrence had played flat two games before, but still ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in rebounding (7.3).
That performance was just what ASU needed as shooting has been the main weakness of this group.
Collectively, the Sun Devils have shot 38.7% from the field and an even worse 27.8 % from three-point range. That has left the team often in the scenario where defense is where they must win games.
That will again be the case as Stanford boasts an offense averaging 69 points per game. The Cardinal enter with issues of their own, after dropping back-to-back games in conference play.
The team fell in a close 67-64 loss to Washington, then returned home and was dismantled by third-ranked Arizona 85-57. Those losses aren't indicative of how good this Stanford team can be.
The Cardinal upset Oregon early in the conference slate and made a statement against then-ranked fifth USC. Stanford runs a balanced offense that relies on a number of scorers.
Leading the charge is forward Harrison Ingram, who leads the team in scoring (11.4) and rebounding (6.9). He is one of three players averaging double-figures as both Jaiden Delaire and Spencer Jones sit at 11.3 and 10.1 points per contest respectively.
The team also features one of the top shooters on three-pointers in the Pac-12. Guard Noah Taitz is shooting at a 43.2% mark from deep this season for the Cardinal. That places him fifth in the conference.
That will spread the Arizona State defense as the team looks to get back on track. The Sun Devils are in desperate need of a win as they ready for a four-game stretch that features four ranked opponents.