Thoughts for the upcoming UA/ASU 2010-11 rematch

A look back – May 12, 2010, former UA recruit-slash-ASU freshman Victor Rudd becomes the fourth player to bolt from ASU along with Demitrius Walker, Brandon Thompson, and Taylor Rohde. Rudd eventually enrolls at the University of South Florida.

UA fan “sleepingGiant” posits:

Wow!!.. Nobody seems to want to play for Sendick and his 40 minutes of helI “watch paint dry” offense! ASU is easily looking like the worst basketball team in the Pac-10 right now for next season. Meanwhile UofA will be back to putting up the usual basketball scores they put up against ASU for a quarter of a century.

This quote sets off a huge firestorm, where many Tempe Normal faithful blast sleepingGiant as being uneducated and uninformed.

Some examples:

SeeingIsBelieving:

You said the same EXACT thing last year. Don’t you get tired of being wrong…EVERY…SINGLE…TIME???

UofAholes:

As for UofA – maybe you clowns will actually qualify for the NIT next year….

sundevilmike:

The same UA basketball team that didn’t even get an NIT bid? Yeah, ASU fans are terrified…

GoDevils1:

Somebody tell Sean Miller he’s not in the weak A-10 anymore….he couln’t even get his team into the NIT in the weakest year in the Pac-10’s history.

PCPMN:

With 5 good recruits coming in this is not surprising. Herb can handle it.

It doesn’t look like Herb is handling it at all. As of February 6, 2011, Tempe Normal is 9-14, 1-10 in the Pac-10. With 7 conference games remaining, Tempe Normal will have to go 6-1 just to get to .500. Anything less and it assures Tempe Normal of a losing season unless they win the Pac-10 tournament.

Currently, Tempe Normal ranks near the bottom of the nation in three of four major statistical categories (points per game, rebounds per game, field goal percentage), and only two players average in double figures in points per game. Only two players have gotten to the free throw line more than 60 times (Abbott, Lockett), and as a team, Tempe Normal shoots free throws at a 64% clip.

Arizona, on the other hand, ranks in the top 100 in three categories (points per game, field goal percentage, assists per game), has a National Player of the Year candidate (Derrick Williams), plays 11 men with no real noticable dropoff outside of the center position, and has six players shooting three pointers at a 38% or better clip. They shoot free throws at a 74% rate, and get to the line almost twice as much as Tempe Normal (600 to 385), with five players having more than 60 attempts.

Yes, the next game is in Tempe, but really it’s more like McKale Center North. It doesn’t help that recently Tempe Normal cordoned off almost 3200 seats, ostensibly to give it a “home court feel”. Realistically, though, nobody’s buying that because even after that, Tempe Normal still can’t sell out games. No, it’s because they got tired of seeing all the empty seats… except when Arizona comes to play, in which case the Arena is mostly cardinal red and navy blue instead of maroon and gold.

Now, Tempe Normal’s Herb Sendek is 6-4 against Arizona since 2007-08 season. However, of those 6 wins, only one of them is against Sean Miller. Again, that’s ONE win against a non-interim Arizona coach.

That says volumes about Tempe Normal’s program – that it can jack it up against the interims but completely shuts down against the heavy guns. Oh, and by the way, Lute Olson’s record against ASU: 43-6. Miller’s career Arizona record against ASU: 2-1. So, that’s a 45-7 record by regular Arizona HC’s (not counting interims) against ASU HC’s in the last 28 years.

Yes, that’s exactly SEVEN wins over regular Arizona HC’s in 28 years. That five-game win streak between 2007-2009 was fool’s gold since it was over the interim HCs.

So, for Sunday’s game:

Frontcourt: Arizona. Tempe Normal has no answer for Williams who will go for another double-double (at least 20 points and 10 boards). Jamelle Horne will also get 10-and-5, and Perry will get 8-and-5. In otherwords, Arizona’s frontcourt will have a field day on the glass – and second chance points – against the woefully undersized Tempe squad. Tempe’s Kuksiks will get his 10 points, but that’s about it.

Backcourt: Arizona. Jones, Fogg, Mayes, Hill, and Parrom have come alive in the meat of the Pac-10 schedule. Tempe’s Abbott and Lockett can score in bunches (27 ppg combined), but after them, McMillan, Felix, King and now Creekmur offer a combined 16 ppg off the bench. And while Jones and Fogg combine for only 18 ppg, the Arizona bench of Mayes, Hill, Lavender and Parrom offer up another 25 ppg.

Coaching: Arizona. Normally, Sendek would have the edge if it were any other coach, but this isn’t any other coach. Miller has shown he can outcoach Sendek and already owns the career head-to-head coaching lead against Sendek, going 3-2 as Arizona’s and Xavier’s HC.

Intangibles: Arizona. The game is being played in Tempe, but both teams have a week off after a trip to the Bay Area schools. Tempe Normal, however, has given Arizona a lot of game film to find weaknesses – not that it’ll be hard to find them… see “frontcourt” – whereas Arizona has given Tempe Normal a lot to worry about after a 3OT win at Cal, where two nights earlier Tempe Normal could not close the door on the same Cal team.

Arizona by 10.