Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Arizona at Arizona State

The Duel in the Dessert started like a Missouri Valley conference game, and it was only very late in the first half that the game picked up in terms of basketball play on offense. The script of the game was different this time.

For one thing, Arizona did not fall behind, but rather started the game ahead and kept the lead throughout the game. For another thing, Arizona State actually made a comeback, instead of having their traditional meltdown when facing off the Lute Olson Cats.

James Harden was almost unstoppable in the second half, Kevin O'Neill refused to change his defensive schemes, and ASU slowly managed to get back in the game and force an overtime.

The overtime was a sea-saw battle and Arizona State ended up getting a storming the court win over their "rivals" who had won 24 of the last 25 "rivarly" games before tonight.

Kevin O'Neill continued with his unpredictable rotations, with Kirk Walters and Jamelle Horne seeing no court time at all. Infact some could argue that O'Neill was ...zany as he asked Zane Johnson to remove the red shirt and put on the blue shirt. All that so that he played five minutes in the first half? As you may recall Lute lifted the redshirt off Kirk Walters a few years ago.

The strange thing is that both Walters and Horne would have been good matchups, especially Walters going against Pendergraph and House of Duke Boetang. Horne is fast enough that he could match up with Shipp or whoever else was playing the undersized four.

Herb Sendek has indeed surprised many people with this quick turnaround. A lot of people thought that it would take him 3-4 years and there were no guarantees he would be able to do it. Of course the season is far from over, but for Arizona State standards, he already has three conference wins, and *gasp* a 3-0 conference start. When was the last time ASU won more than 3 conference games in a whole season?

If you missed this game, you can catch a repeat on Fox College Sports or FSN-Arizona (for those with the regional FSN satellite package). Speaking of TV, this is the January 2008 college hoops tv guide.

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