Yesterday, Professor Pac handed out good grades to all his pet pupils. Today, he takes a look at a few students who might not be quite as pleased with their most recent grades.
Arizona State – B+
A pair of road games in Washington, a delayed flight out of Pullman to Seattle, and a split with the last game being at least partially decided on a very questionable no-call at the end? There’s no way I’m going to punish the Sun Devils too much for that week. Still, when you shoot, as they did against Washington — a nearly 75% effective field goal percentage — and still come away with a loss, you need to examine exactly what you missed on defense. ASU gave up better than 1.26 points per possession to an often uninspiring offensive team, got absolutely manhandled on the glass (the Huskies grabbed nearly 44% of their own misses and 92% of ASU’s misses), and were outscored from the stripe, 21-6. While there may have been a missed call at the end, the Sun Devils had plenty to do with their eventual demise.
Focus on: Ruslan Pateev. Not long ago it was in fashion to marvel about how Pateev had come from being invisible in the non-conference to make a nice impact in solid minutes in the middle of conference play. Well, this past week we came to a combination of those two things, wherein Pateev played solid minutes and yet was still invisible. In 20 total minutes against the Washington schools, Pateev grabbed two rebounds and made his only field goal attempt. He’s not the sole reason the Devils got killed on the glass, but he certainly didn’t help much.
Looking ahead: The Sun Devils host Cal and Stanford this week at Wells Fargo Arena and, especially against a suddenly hot Stanford team that doesn’t see all that interested in playing a ton of defense, we could be on our way to seeing ASU both score and give up 90 points or more in a game for the third consecutive week.
After Missing Time Early With A Knee Injury, Shawn Kemp, Jr. May Be Fully Healthy Again (Dean Rutz, The Seattle Times)
Washington – B-
A home split is never a great thing; you want to be able to take care of business at home. But, a home split against the toughest pair of traveling partners in the league where the one loss came by four points to a team that is in the top ten in the nation? I’ll gladly show some mercy on the Huskies, especially since they showed some serious offensive punch against Arizona State.
Focus on: Shawn Kemp, Jr. After starting the season as a spectator due to a knee injury, it has taken some time for the sophomore forward to earn back some minutes in the Washington rotation. But I think we can safely say he’s back now. Kemp has scored 37 points in 65 minutes of action in his last three games making 17 of his 24 field goal attempts over that span while showing a good nose for the ball on the glass. Coupled with Desmond Simmons and Aziz N’Diaye up front, the Husky front line has turned what was a weakness early in the year into one of the team’s biggest strengths.
Looking ahead: The Los Angeles swing is next up for the Huskies, with UCLA on Thursday evening and USC on Sunday. They’ll need that frontcourt trio to bring it against the Bruins in order to exploit one of UCLA’s biggest weaknesses.
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