Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Basketball Notes

Well after taking almost two months off from updating this thing (due in part to ASU's poor performance on the football field and in part to school and life becoming more busy) it's back! Here are some notes from ESPN on ASU Basketball!

Officials made right call with BYU-Arizona State

Posted by Andy Katz

Bill McCabe worked as an official for the St. Petersburg Bowl game Saturday, came off the field and saw the controversial ending to the BYU-Arizona State basketball game on SportsCenter.

McCabe, who doubles as the Pac-10 coordinator of officials and had assigned the officials for the event in Glendale, Ariz., knew he would speak with official Kevin Brill, one of the officials who reversed Charles Abouo's flip basket as time expired. The initial call on the court was good, to give the Cougars a 77-76 win. But after a thorough review, the basket was called no good and Arizona State won 76-75.

"Kevin Brill said it was the toughest call he has had to make in his college career," McCabe said. "But Brill got it right. When the red light goes on, the ball is still in his hands."

McCabe said the red light is key if it can be in the picture with the shot. "The red light is on and the ball is in his hands," McCabe said.

"They slowed it down, frame-by-frame, and the ball was still in his hands," McCabe said.

BYU coach Dave Rose didn't see it that way.

"That's a pretty big play for us," said Rose, whose Cougars lost their first game of the season but have another Top 25 game on Jan. 3 against presently undefeated Wake Forest, this time in Provo where the Cougars have a 53-game homecourt winning streak.

Rose said the frustration settled in when the Cougars players and the Arizona State staff and players were standing around waiting and watching to see what call would be made.

Rose said "the play on the floor stands unless there is conclusive evidence. I'm not sure what they're watching."

Rose said he couldn't see the play as being conclusive. McCabe said Rose is confusing football and basketball that the play doesn't have to be conclusive to overturn, rather the ball can't be in the player's hands if the red light is on and the clock is at zero. The horn isn't used as a first indicator because the timing of the horn can be off as well as hearing it can be an issue in a loud arena.

Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said it was "obviously a close call, a difficult call but the ball was still in his hands when it was being reviewed. It was definitely a bang-bang play."

Sendek said it was difficult to stand idle waiting for a decision and that the swings of emotion were tremendous.

"It's hard to swallow. I don't see what everyone else sees [on the replay]," Rose said. "We played good and had plenty of chances to win."

• Officials Brill and Bobby McRoy are no strangers to controversy. They were on the Stanford-UCLA game last year that decided the Pac-10 title. The end of that game drew ire from Stanford after Lawrence Hill was called for a blocking foul late in the game on Darren Collison. Stanford felt then that it should have been a no call. Collison made the two free throws with 2.5 seconds left to force overtime. UCLA won in overtime.

• Rose said Wake Forest will be only the second ACC school to play at the Marriott Center in Provo. The other was a home-and-home with NC State. Why did Herb Sendek, then the coach of the Wolfpack go to Provo? "We wanted as good a strength of schedule as we could get," Sendek said.

Presents for coaches, players and fans

Posted by Fran Fraschilla

I'm in the holiday spirit this week, so I thought I'd give out Christmas presents for some of my friends around the college basketball world.

Happy holidays to all you basketball fans out there.

James Harden, Arizona State: A PR agent
Most college basketball fans have heard of Harden. But because of Pacific Coast Time and the Sun Devils' limited television coverage, they don't realize what they're missing. He is currently shooting almost 80 percent from the line, almost 50 percent from behind the arc and over 60 percent from inside the arc. Astonishingly, one of the country's best scorers is averaging almost seven rebounds and four assists a game, as well. If he were in the Big East or ACC, he'd be a front-runner for national Player of the Year.

ESPN Player of the Week

4. James Harden, So., Arizona State: Harden didn't have his best game Dec. 14, scoring a pedestrian nine points on five shots and committing five turnovers in ASU's one-point win over IUPUI. But he came up big -- scoring 30 and making 16 of 21 free throws -- in ASU's one-point, last-possession win over BYU on Saturday in Glendale, Ariz.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sun Devil News & Notes

Since Arizona State became a member of the Pac-10, it leads the series against Oregon State, 21-3-1, though the Beavers have won two of the last three games played at Corvallis. All-time the Devils lead 24-9-1, going 6-6-1 in Corvallis. In last year's contest ASU came from behind as Oregon State blew a 19-0 lead in large part because of five interceptions as the Devils won, 44-32. The Beavers lost by 12 despite piling up 514 total yards. Rudy Carpenter had 361 passing yards with four touchdowns, including touchdown passes of 64, 43, and 48 yards. This year though the Beavers secondary is among the best in the conference and they have an aggressive pass rush that will challenge the Devils offensive line (like that's a hard thing to do) and test Carpenter's sprained ankle.

The Sun Devils, by the way, are trying to avoid their first six-game losing streak since 1929. In the spirit of useless but fun information, here are some events that occurred in 1929: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago involving Al Capone, the first Academy Awards, the establishment of the Grand Teton National Park, Herbert Hoover was inaugurated as the 31st President, Vatican City becomes a sovereign state, the first color television, and the Old West Gunfighter Wyatt Earp died.

Carpenter will make his 39th consecutive start this weekend at Corvallis, leading the Devils lackluster offense that is averaging only 19.3 points per game. Jake Plummer started his final 40 games as ASU's quarterback from 1993-96. In order to finish bowl eligible the Devils must go 4-1 the rest of the way. Wins should be expected against Washington and Washington State, and most likely against UCLA, but the Devils need to pull off an "upset" over either Oregon State or Arizona in order to make a bowl game again this year.

ASU has had 27 players see their first NCAA action this season, many of them should see more playing time as the season wears on as the Devils look to break out of their slump. Erickson has had only three losing seasons in 20 years as a college head coach.

A couple of positives from the game Saturday was the play of TB Ryan Bass and TE Andrew Pettes. Bass ran for 56 yards on 10 carries to lead the Devils rushing attack and Pettes caught four passes for 40 yards from his tight end spot. Also the Devils had almost 70,000 fans at the game, as ASU looks to have its' highest average attendance since at least 1998.

Both Thomas Weber and Trevor Hankins punted the ball three times in the game Saturday. Hankins averaged 37.3 yards with a long of 53 but one touchback and Weber averaged 31.7 yards with a long of 37 and one inside the twenty yard line. Should be interesting to see who gets the majority of the punting duties this weekend, as Hankins showed some potential but also had a shanked punt of just 19 yards.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend Update

Well the Devils have one thing going for them this weekend at least, no Pac-10 team has played well on the road. The best road win in the Pac-10 so far is Arizona's win over UCLA, not counting team's wins at Washington and Washington State because the local high school teams could travel up to Washington and win this season.

Keegan Herring is expected to make the start on Saturday, hopefully his hammy's will hold up long enough for the Devils to establish a bit of a run game. ASU ranks 117th out of 120 in rushing yards per game with just 83.7, a stat that has crippled the offense.

Rudy Carpenter is supposedly feeling better about his ankle, but will be tested by Oregon's pass defense. The Ducks lead the Pac-10 with 3.57 sacks per game and sacked Rudy nine times in last year's meeting.

Oregon still isn't set on who will be their starting quarterback for this weekend. It will either be Justin Roper, who began the season as the starter but injured his knee, or Jeremiah Masoli, who's been filling in. Either could start and both probably will play. Roper is the passer between the two but Masoli's running skills are better and fit slightly better into the Ducks' spread offense.

The Devils are expecting a large crowd this weekend of around 67,000. The game won't be televised after the athletic department decided to go with the traditional 7:00pm kick-off as opposed to moving the game up to the afternoon for television coverage. Oh, how far we've come since Gene Smith's days of selling our soul and frying our fans just to make that tv money and get out of the red.

ASU is currently fourth in the Pac-10 in attendance, averaging 63,738 for its first four home games. That's the highest average since 1998.

Saturday's game is the annual Hall of Fame game. This year's inductees are former coach Bruce Snyder, who took the Devils to the '96 Rose Bowl (winning national coach of the year) and is now battling cancer, Pat Tillman, and Eric Allen. The other inductee that catches the eye is Jeremy Veal of basketball fame.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

UofA's Lute Olson Stepping Down?

Lute Olson is not returning to Arizona. The Wildcats' Hall of Fame coach, who took a leave of absence in '07, is stepping down, a source told Dick Vitale. The university says it has not been informed.

More to come later as the Days of Our Lives Drama in Tucson unfolds.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Notes on ASU/Oregon

The Devils' Clint Floyd, a true freshman who has started the past two games at safety, suffered a lacerated kidney (hopefully that's not as painful as it sounds), and will be out anywhere from two to four weeks. Also in the injury department, back up offensive lineman Matt Hustad will be out for the season after suffering an injury that will require a second knee surgery.

ASU's next opponent, Oregon, is expecting quarterback Justin Roper to be back near full strength and possibly start when the Ducks visit Tempe on October 25th. It will either be him or current starter Jeremiah Masoli, neither one being all to impressive. The Ducks' rank eighth in the Pac-10 in passing yards per game and their pass defense ranks ninth in the conference. Do you think we'll still stubbornly stick to the run against Oregon?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oregon Game Time; Bowden Out

The ASU-Oregon game on October 25 will not be televised. Kick-off is scheduled for 7pm. The Devils are off this weekend.


Clemson fired coach Bobby Bowden today. The Tigers were 3-3 this year after being the favorites to win the ACC and ranked 9th in the preseason polls. Bowden went 72-45 at Clemson with eight bowl appearances in 9+ seasons.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

At Least the Economy is Good..oh wait.

All good things must come to an end they say. It's true in the case of the economy, summer vacation, and the Suns' playoff runs. It's also true in the case of Rudy Carpenter. Carpenter's streak of 36 consecutive starts appears like it will come to a conclusion this saturday as the Devils take on USC.

Carpenter sprained his left ankle last week against California in the fourth quarter of the Devils loss and has been in a boot this week. He was without the boot Wednesday night at practice but did not participate in practice except for a few throws on the side with his ankle heavily taped.

Backup quarterback Danny Sullivan is expected to get his first career start. The junior has played in 17 games as a backup since 2006. Carpenter's current streak of 36 starts is the second longest of its kind in the nation.

The Devils are 27 1/2 point underdogs and have the 113th ranked rushing offense in the country, out of 120 teams.

Earlier this week ASU looked like they may get a break as USC starting quarterback Mark Sanchez was nursing an injured knee after injuring his knee against Oregon last week. However, the SC quarterback has responded with a good week of practices and is basically day-to-day. All-American lineback Rey Maualuga is also good to go against ASU on Saturday after sitting out last week due to a sprained knee. If Sanchez is unable to start the job will fall to Mitch Mustain, a transfer who was just No. 4 on the USC depth chart last week.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Burning the Bandwagon

Some series history with USC: Lost the last 8 games against USC, starting in 2000 with a 2OT loss at home. The Devils last win in the series was in 1999 at USC, 26-16. Dating back to 1998, ASU is 1-9 against USC. Overall in the series ASU trails 9-15 and is 4-7 all-time at USC.

Did we really expect anything different at California?
The last time the Devils won at Cal was in 1997. With the loss ASU is now 3-6 against California since 1998.

The last time ASU had lost three straight games was in 2006, Koetter's last season. The Devils started 3-0 but then lost the next three games to Cal, Oregon, and USC and finished the regular season 7-5. The last time the Devils had a losing record was in 2005, when losses to LSU, USC, Oregon, and Stanford dropped the Devils to 3-4. The last time ASU was 2-3 to start a season was in 2003, when they went on to finish 5-7.

Quarterback Rudy Carpenter is questionable for the USC game this weekend after suffering a sprained ankle at Cal. Rudy ran for the most yards of anyone on the field last weekend, however he doesn't get credit for any because they were yards accrued while running away from his terrible offensive line.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Notes on Cal; Munns Out

California opened up its' quarterback competition again on Tuesday as both Kevin Riley and Nate Longshore took equal reps in practice. Riley, a sophomore, got the starting nod over Longshore, a senior, in fall practice but both quarterbacks have seen playing time this season. Neither has been extremely impressive.

Good news for ASU, Cal will be without starting tailback Jahvid Best. He is the Bears' leading rusher and receiver but suffered a dislocated elbow. Best is averaging 7.1 yards per carry for a total of 421 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Bears' first four games. He ran for a combined 311 yards in Cal's first two games but was held to just 25 on 10 carries in their loss at Maryland, although he did have 5 receptions for 65 yards in that game.

Also on the injury front, offensive guard Chris Guarnero and defensive end Rulon Davis each sustained injuries last week.

The Sun Devils will be without the services of LB Gerald Munns for the remainder of the season. Munns will be out due to undisclosed personal issues. Munns was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2 against Stanford but sat out the UNLV loss due to surgery on his hand. Morris Wooten, Mike Nixon, and Shelly Lyons will replace Munns. Wooten returned from a three game suspension to lead the Devils in tackles against Georgia with eight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Upset Weekend

This weekend's games brought a plethora of upsets, starting Thursday night with Oregon State over USC. The Top 25 poll will get shaken up as the following seven teams lost:

#1 USC at Oregon State, 27-21
#3 Georgia vs. #8 Alabama, 41-30
#4 Florida vs. Mississippi, 31-30
#9 Wisconsin at Michigan, 27-25
#16 Wake Forest vs. Navy, 24-17
#20 Clemson vs. Maryland, 20-17
#23 East Carolina vs. Houston, 41-24

In addition to these upsets there were almost even more, as #15 Auburn held off Tennessee, 14-12, to avoid the upset, #25 Fresno State held off UCLA, 36-31, and #5 LSU held off a stubborn Mississippi State squad, 34-24.

It will be interesting to see how the Top 25 shakes out when the poll is released later today. Oklahoma will most likely take over the top spot after their 35-10 win over #24 TCU and most likely will be followed by Texas, Alabama, Missouri and LSU.