Rest is good, but beware the trap
Not playing for over a week after their triple-overtime win at California may benefit the Wildcats not just physically but also emotionally.
The Bears played at Washington just four days after UA's 107-105 win and were promptly blown out 109-77.
Not to mention, the Wildcats have the proverbial trap situation with last-place ASU standing between that Cal game and next weekend's big home games with Washington State and Washington. And ASU has won six of the past eight games between the intrastate rivals.
"It's real dangerous," guard MoMo Jones said. "With them being last in the Pac-10 and us being first in the Pac-10, it's just a dangerous situation being as it's a rivalry situation also. They're going to come out and play their best game.
"We've gotta come out and play them like we would play Washington or Kansas."
Miller knows rivalries
Change the Interstate highway number from 10 to 75 and you might find a similar rivalry to the one UA and ASU share.
At least Sean Miller did as the head coach at Xavier, every time he faced Ohio neighbor Dayton.
"Both are private schools sharing the state and you had to play them twice, sometimes three times," Miller said.
"You had a lot of things in common between fans sharing households and neighborhoods- it was very similar to Arizona and ASU. That rivalry won't get maybe the national coverage that some others do but it's very heated."
Something to make Herb smile
The speed and athleticism of Mesa guard Jahii Carson are two things worth noting about the ASU signee.
But when discussing Pac-10 recruiting after the ESPNU McDonald's All-American show on Thursday, analyst Dave Telep brought up the really big question.
"He's a fun kid to be around," Telep said. "We'll see if he can get Herb Sendek to smile."
Based on his azcentral.com chat earlier this week, Carson might have a chance.
Among other things, Carson said he maintains a good friendship with UA signee Nick Johnson, and that Arizona's Jones told him he "will continue to beat the pants off of ASU as long as he is a Wildcat."
In addition, when asked what he would do against UA if some "little twerp" is standing in the way of him on an ASU fast break, Carson replied "twerp is getting dunked on."
Snubbed by McDonald's
Carson, Johnson and UA signee Josiah Turner of Sacramento were all top 50 players in the class of 2011 yet none of them made the McDonald's All-American Game rosters announced Thursday.
Turner may have taken himself out of the running when he made a messy midseason transfer last month from Sacramento High School to the Quality Education Academy of Winston-Salem, N.C.
"Exit was not graceful and timing was bad," Telep wrote to the Star in a text message.
"Talent-wise he's good enough."
Telep also said Johnson should have been one of the 24 players picked for the March 30 game.
Williams at the line
Derrick Williams managed 16 trips to the free-throw line against ASU last month, and there's no telling if tonight's game being in Tempe could change that.
"I guess you could hope," ASU guard Jamelle McMillan said. "At the end of the day, it's play a little harder. If you play a little harder and beat the guy to the spot, you don't leave any question."
Easier said than done, of course. McMillan said Williams is crafty and difficult to defend because he can use both hands and maneuvers well within 15 feet. Which often translates to … picking up fouls.
"If you're aggressive in transition, if you drive the ball, if you get the ball inside, if you cut hard, if you offensive rebound, if you do aggressive kinds of things like that, you put yourself in position to earn more fouls," Sendek said. "If you're a really good player and are hard to guard, you tend to draw more fouls."
He said it …
"They're improved on offense coming into our game. They're shooting the ball better and Jamelle McMillan is stable with his health, and if he's stable, they're much better off. Trent Lockett is playing probably the best basketball of his season."
Archie Miller, Arizona associate head coach, who scouted the Sun Devils
He said it …
"One of the things you have to do against them is not take quick shots or make careless turnovers. We have to be careful with the ball."
Archie Miller, Arizona associate head coach
Arizona at Arizona State, 7 p.m., FSAZ, 1290-AM, 107.5-FM