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Arizona State Sun Devils Preview: Will it be a track meet today at UCLA?

We take a brief preview of UCLA's next opponent, the Arizona State Sun Devils (10-5).

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It's almost gametime so let's take a brief look at our opponent.

The Arizona State Sundevils are sporting a new head coach this season. Herb Sendek is gone and the team is now lead by Bobby Hurley since April 2015. Hurley won two national championships while at Duke ('91 and '92) and has coaching for University of Buffalo that fielded up-tempo teams.

Let's take a look at this year's ASU team.

By the numbers

First, let's see some raw figures. ASU is 10-5 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play. Their lone notable win came against #18 Texas A&M meanwhile they were beat by the other two top 10 teams, #5 Kentucky and #8 Arizona, they played. Without looking too closely at their season, I'd say their lowlights this season have been in losses against Sacramento State (7-6) and Just$c* (13-3--don't be fooled-it's just$c!).

By comparison, looking only at the numbers, UCLA is eerily similar with an overall record of 10-6 but is 1-2 in Pac-12 play. The similarities end there, as the Bruins do have some nice wins against good competition: #1 Kentucky, #20 Gonzaga, and #7 Arizona. UCLA was beat by two top teams, #5 Kansas and #11 North Carolina, as well. Of course, we have our fair share of lowlights in losses against: Monmouth, Wake Forrest and both Washington schools.


Team goes 8 deep (defined as players averaging over 20 minutes) with Tre Holder (G So.), Gerry Blakes (G Sr.), Savon Goodman (F Jr.), Willie Atwood (F Sr.), Obinna Oleka (F Jr.), Eric Jacobsen (F Sr.), Kodi Justice (G So.), and Andre Spight (G Jr.)--listed in decreasing order of minutes played.

Tra Holder, a sophomore guard (6' 1", 180 lbs), is the leader of the team playing the most minutes (30.1 min/g) and scoring the most points (15.6/g) through their 15 games played. In the past six games he is averaging 20.3 points and shooting 38 of 77 (49.4%) with an impressive 14 of 29 (48.3%) from 3-point land.

Though six players have led the team in scoring at some point in the season.

Look out for their center Olenka as he is averaging 13.3 ppg in the past 6 games and shoots free throws at a high clip (88.9%).

One sentence summary

The Sun Devil's strength is their free throw shooting while their weakness is their rebounding, so if the pace of the game is fast, I'd expect an easy Bruin victory though.

Wish I could end the preview there but, under third year head coach Steve Alford, whenever UCLA plays a non-ranked team their effort level drops significantly so anything can happen today (*cough* Washington schools *cough*).

Go Bruins!