Arizona State Men's Basketball 2013 NIT Tournament Capsule

Arizona State Sun Devils
Pac-12 (21-12, 9-9)


Arizona State has turned in a spectacularly average season in 2012-2013. They started the season by beating up on most everyone they should have, going 11-2 before facing their first conference opponent. One of those two losses was to Creighton, a team they probably should have lost to, being absolutely average. Once their Pac-12 slate began, they picked on the bottom of the conference, going 3-0 combined against Washington State and Oregon State. They also got picked on themselves by teams like Washington and the upper echelon conference foes: Oregon and Arizona. Being perfectly ho-hum is not good for title contention, though it is perfectly acceptable for a postseason tournament berth and calm, if not elated feelings after the season has come to pass. Arizona State is no giant slayer. This year, they probably didn’t expect to be one though.

Big Wins: 1/26 UCLA (78-60), 2/7 California (66-62), 2/16 at Colorado (63-62)
Bad Losses: 12/12 DePaul (61-78), 2/13 at Utah (55-60), 3/02 at USC (56-57)
Coach: Herb Sendek (7 seasons at Arizona State)

Why They Can Surprise:
The Sun Devils’ two best players are complimentary opposites on the same player spectrum. One, Jahii Carson, is a sub-six foot freshman guard, leading his team in scoring and assists in his first year on the big stage. The other, Carrick Felix, is a 6’6” senior specimen who has worked to improve his game, making huge strides to lead his team in rebounding in his fourth year. Felix has seen his numbers across the board leap considerably every season at Arizona State. From a seldom used sophomore putting up just four points per game and shooting an abysmal 39 percent from the floor in a shade over 14 minutes per contest, to where he is today, a lot of State’s success is thanks to the improvements he has made. Other than ASU’s top two scorers, most of the rest of the team’s production comes from the rest of the starters as the Sun Devil’s reserve unit is not much to speak of. Center Jordan Bachynski is an absolute load. At 7’2”, the big man tallied well over half of Arizona State’s total blocked shots this season while playing the fewest minutes out of any starter. If not for Chris Obekpa out at St. John’s, Bachynski would lead the nation in blocks per 40 minutes.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The aforementioned trio of starters is joined at every tip by Jonathan Gilling and Evan Gordon. That quintet accounts for roughly 90 percent of the team’s total scoring! In other words, ASU won’t have any Sixth Man of the Year award winners anytime soon. Other than the bench not inspiring much confidence, there are reasons the Sun Devils can beat up on weak opponents but lose to a lot of the good ones. They shoot terribly from the foul line and from three. Not a single Sun Devil shoots close to 40 percent from the outside nor does any player shoot even 75 percent from the line. Basketball has morphed into a game of efficiency where teams want to get the best shots on the floor possible. The three best ways to score are at the rim, at the foul line and from the three point line. Long twos and jump shots are the worst way to approach offense. Being bad at two of these three factors leaves Arizona State where they are today: an okay team with little to no upside.

Probable Starters:
Jahii Carson, Freshman, Guard, 18.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.4 rpg
Evan Gordon, Junior, Guard, 10.1 ppg, 2.1 apg, 2.8 rpg
Carrick Felix, Senior, Forward, 14.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg
Jonathan Gilling, Sophomore, Forward, 9.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, 6.2 rpg
Jordan Bachynski, Junior, Center, 9.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.5 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Chris Colvin, Senior, Guard, 4.7 ppg, 1.9 apg, 3.0 rpg
Ruslan Pateev, Senior, Center, 2.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.3 (103rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.7 (152, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.6 (67, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.7 (78, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (88, 3)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.5 (189, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 62.2 (333, 12)
Rebound Margin: -0.1 (184, 10)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (103, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.5 (105, 4)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2010    NIT        First Round loss to Jacksonville
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Temple
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Syracuse
2008    NIT        First Round win over Alabama State
2008    NIT        Second Round win over Southern Illinois
2008    NIT        Quarterfinal loss to Florida
2005    NIT        First Round loss to UNLV
2003    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Memphis
2003    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Kansas   
2002    NIT        First Round loss to UNLV

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules