After getting blown out by Oregon late in the regular season, Arizona State faced them again in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament. And though it was close, they bowed out in the second round. But they got their at-large bid, a chance to battle with St. John’s.
Despite finishing as the #7 seed for the Big East tournament and getting BLOWN OUT (by 32) against Marquette in the second round, the Red Storm have a chance against ASU. They avenged a late-season loss to DePaul to knock them out in the first round, before bowing out.
Bobby Hurley has done a great job with this team, and getting them to the tournament is a definite win for the group. The committee is mostly to thank with the at-large bid being awarded, but once you get in, you are in. They are a team that has quite a few scoring options with which to go to. Luguentz Dort is leading the way with 16 points per game, and led the team with 52 makes from behind the arc this season. Remy Martin, Zylan Cheatham, and Rob Edwards round out the double-digit scorers.
If there are two things that could threaten to derail this team tonight, it would be three-point shooting and rim protection. They average three blocks per game but do not have a player who can play in the paint and consistently put pressure on those attacking the lane. And they make only seven threes a game, something St. John’s does much better.
Making the tournament has to have this team fired up, but there were likely teams that were a bit more deserving. Chris Mullin is going to seriously need to help them make some noise in the tournament to put his team in the national map. All five starters have been terrific for the Red Storm, but the issue with that is that they have nobody to come in and score off the bench. Other teams across the country have similar problems, and so if one guy gets into foul trouble, the replacement is nowhere near the same talent level.
It starts with Shamorie Ponds and his 19-4-5 line. He and Marvin Clark II are the three-point specialists. They don’t protect the rim too well either, so Arizona State could have opportunities to exploit that. Mustapha Heron, LJ Figueroa, and Justin are the three other starters who can get out and there and provide offense for the team. All five of them have to bring their A-game and take it at their opponents. St. John’s needs to show the world who they are.
St. John’s is moving into the round of 64!
I am riding with the Red Storm +1 tonight. Shamorie Ponds is going to go for 30 and put NBA scouts on notice. They will want this more than ASU, and a date with #6 Buffalo will be waiting.
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