ASU (14-3, 3-1) is playing differently on both sides of the ball this season, so I asked UA associate head coach James Whitford, who is scouting ASU this week, to break down the Sun Devils.
Defensively, Whitford said ASU has turned from their trademark matchup zone to a man-to-man primarily because of shot-blocking whiz Jordan Bachynski.
With the matchup, ASU’s two post players had responsibilities in the corner and Whitford said it was possible to control an offense that would take him to a corner often. With the man-to-man, Bachyniski is planted near the basket – and has teammates try to funnel ballhandlers toward him with screens (as USC used to when Nikola Vucevic was inside for the Trojans).
“They do a lot of things to put Bachynski in position to block shots,” Whitford said.
Offensively, ASU is taking advantage of Jahii Carson’s speed, talent and confidence to push the ball more. The Sun Devils are averaging 72.6 points per game but only 64.2 in conference play so far.
“Carson is a terrific player and he’s having a great freshman year,” Whitford said. “We knew him in high school and have a great deal of respect for him. He’s very talented, very fast, and he’s a confident player who likes to make big plays.”
Whitford said the Sun Devils are also dangerous offensively because the two (Evan Gordon), three (Carrick Felix) and four (Jonathan Gilling) spots are all filled by players who can shoot well from outside. Gilling hit 5 of 6 three-pointers at ASU last season.
Arizona was recruiting both Carson and Nick Johnson in the summer of 2010 before Johnson committed to Arizona and Carson chose ASU soon afterward.
As is often the case in recruiting, it was never entirely clear who dropped whom but here was the timeline of how the recruitments played out.
CBSSports' Jeff Borzello has Carson rated the No. 3 freshman in the country.
While noting the number of other warm Pac-12 coaching seats, Bud Withers of the Seattle Times wonders if Pat Haden hit "Kevin" instead of "Kiffin" on his speed dial.
There's a take on KO's complicated legacy on the Neon Tommy site.
The affable Bob Cantu has 14 games to audition for a job somewhere while leading USC in KO's place.
The Pac-12 Networks will be showing a conference doubleheader tonight:
Utah at WSU, 7:30 p.m. The Cougars' DaVonte Lacy is trying to break out of a slump.