Stanford Cardinal (16-11) 14-10 ATS, 12-13 O/U at No. 21 Arizona State Sun Devils (21-7) 15-9 ATS, 12-11 O/U Thursday, March 5, 2009 Wells Fargo Arena (14, 141) Tempe, AZ, TV: FSN Arizona (PBP: Daron Sutton, Color: Tom Kuyper) 11:30 p.m. EST. Radio: KTRB AM 860 (PBP Dave Fleming, Color: John Platz)
By Wilson of Predictem.com
The Stanford Cardinal take their game on the road tonight in the desert for a Pac-10 matchup with No. 21 Arizona State. Stanford is still looking for their first Pac-10 road win on the season. They will have an opportunity tonight in Tempe albeit an enormous task as they were pounded by the Sun Devils in the first meeting between the two schools earlier this year on January 2 when ASU coasted to a 90-60 thrashing! ASU will certainly welcome the home court advantage after a disappointing weekend versus the Washington schools as they dropped back to back games at the University of Washington in overtime and Washington State also in overtime.
The Sun Devils are currently tied for third place in the Pac-10 with a 10-6 mark. ASU is averaging 69.4 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field, and the Sun Devils are 73.6 percent from the charity stripe. ASUs opponents have only averaged 59.1 ppg on 40 percent shooting.
Players who will likely impact this game are James Harden (20.8 ppg, 5.6 boards, 50.8 percent from the field) Jeff Pendergraph (13.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 66.5 percent from the field) and Rihards Kuksiks at 10.4 ppg, and 46.5 percent from 3-point land. These guys are gamers who know whats at stake heading into post season play and they will be tough to handle on their home turf.
The Cardinal has Lawrence Hill who is averaging 9.7 ppg while hitting 45.6 percent from the field. Hill is also pulling down 4.7 boards per contest. Stanfords Mitch Johnson is chipping in 5.2 ppg on 46.4 percent shooting while Anthony Goods is desperately seeking a stellar performance as he has put up just 10-47 shooting in the last six games, so he may catch fire if he can find his shot.
Stanford leads the series with Arizona State 37-28 dating back to 1957. The Cardinal have controlled this series as of late by winning five of the last seven and 18 of the last 22 going back ten years to the 1998-99 season. Last year these two teams split by each earning the win on their home court. But for a split to occur this year will force Stanford to steal a win on the road in a hostile environment against a top 25 team.
Last year the Sun Devils beat the Cardinal in Tempe with a 72-68 overtime thriller as James Harden went off for 23 points. This year might be a different story as the Sun Devils, despite the recent losses, are playing well and Stanford has yet to win on the road. This game has all the makings of a potential upset especially with the Cardinal trying to get one on the road.
The Pac-10 regular season will end this week and the table will be set for the Pac-10 tournament at the Staples Center in Los Angeles which begins next week. Who will be the surprise team? No matter how things shape up, the Cardinal will play in their first ever play-in round. If the Cardinal make it into the tourney they will have a difficult task of playing either a number one or two seed, but thats why they play the games, right? March madness is anyones game.
Even though the Cardinal had a less than memorable Pac-10 showing this season (5-11, so far) they did manage to secure a winning season with an overall record of 16-11, which marks 16 wins in 16 seasons, and if they continue to win they can earn a spot in the post season for a 16th consecutive time as well.
The offshore and Las Vegas books are giving the Sun Devils a cozy 9.5 advantage with the total at 133. Will the Cardinal keep ASU down at home or will ASU overcome the two overtime losses from last weekend by taking it to the Cardinal? Only time will tell.
Wilsons Pick: ASU covers the spread easy in Tempe! Luck to ya.