Arizona State Sees Success in New Style

13 Dec

There has been a lot of talk of late about Illinois’ new up tempo style under new coach John Groce and how Brandon Paul has really flourished under it.  The Illini aren’t the only team to change to a quicker pace and see some early success.  The Arizona State Sun Devils have picked up the pace this season and so far it has paid off for Herb Sendek’s group.  After winning just 10 games last season and 12 in 2010-11 ASU has gotten off to an 8-2 start including a 15-point win over Arkansas.

How much of a change in style is this for the Sun Devils?  Through 10 games this season Arizona State have averaged 77.2 points per game, which is good enough for the 43rd spot nationally.  During Sendek’s five previous season’s in Tempe his teams have averaged 67.02 points per game, nearly 10 points less than this season.  In addition to the offense a couple of other factors contributing to the good start is the fact that their scoring defense has remained consistent over the last three years, even with the uptick in scoring the defense is still only giving up 66.8 points.  A case in point, only twice this year have Sun Devils given up over 70 points, to Creighton (87) and DePaul (78) the only two blemishes on their record.  The other factor is that the team is shooting the ball much better, so far this year they are shooting at a 47.5% clip which is 38th in the country.  As a team they haven’t shot this well since 2008-09 when they shot 48% and won 25 games.   It also happens to be the last time they made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Unlike that team who relied heavily on James Harden, this squad is more balanced with contributing Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores and Freshmen.  The team has four players averaging over double figures and another at nine points per game with each class being represented.  Senior Carrick Felix (15.8), Juniors Evan Gordon (11.8) and Jordan Bachynski (10.8), who recorded the first triple-double in school history in a victory over Cal-State Northridge, Sophomore Jonathan Gilling (9.0) and the team is led by Freshman Jahii Carson (17.9) lead the balanced offensive attack.  Bachynski, Gilling and Felix average a combined 22.2 of the team’s 37.9 rebounds per game.  An additional perk to the fast paced style is the fact that the Sun Devils are sharing the ball at a clip of 15.6 assists per contest, Seniors Felix and Chris Colvin, Gilling, Gordon and Carson rack up 14.6 of those assists per game.

Arizona has been the consensus top team in the Pac-12 so far this season, but the group chasing them that includes; Oregon, California, Colorado and Stanford are improved over last season and more tightly bunched.  After a month and a new style of play, the Wildcats’ in-state rivals from Tempe should be considered among the group hot on the tail of the Wildcats as conference play approaches.

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