I don't know if it's East Coast bias or what, but somehow, inexplicably, the Arizona State University men's basketball team got a mere 16 combined votes this week between the AP and Coaches Polls. If I'm not mistaken, Joe Lunardi did not have them in his preseason bracketology. ANd I cannot figure out why.
This is a team that went 22-13 last and made it to the NIT. Granted, it was only the NIT and they lost Carrick Felix and Evan Gordon, but c'mon. They return Jahii Carson, maybe the best player in his conference and one of the best point guards and draft prospects in the land. He could take an average team to the tournament himself! But then, throw in Jordan Bachynski, a 7'2" skilled, not-super-skinny senior center who can score and who averaged 3.4 BPG last season, and Penn State transfer Jermaine Marshall who averaged over 15 PPG last season in the "grind it out" Big Ten conference. Granted, it was for Penn State, but he can play.
This season, those three are combing for over 49 points per game. The Sun Devils are 3-0, winning their games by an average of 33 points over opponents with a combined record of 3-5, which is poor but not terrible. They get a good test tomorrow night against UNLV and I think they will handle it just fine, even on the road. Don't be surprised if this team gets as high as a 3 seed this year and makes some serious noise in the tournament. Forget Oregon and UCLA. In-state rival Arizona State will be Arizona's biggest competition for the conference title this season and they might even come away with it.
I don't get to see them much as I live in the Midwest, but from what I've seen of Jahii Carson boy look like he's the truth!
This is a win right now or you're out year for Sendek... I will keep my eye out for ASU.
ASU is good, they've got 3 real talented players in Carson, Marshall and Bachysnki and some nice complimentary pieces in Jonathan Gilling, Shaq McKissic, and Chance Murray
ASU is a nice under the radar team, no doubt.
I'll raise you one, though, with Xavier.
The X-Men have looked swanky thus far with Semaj leading the ship with Davis and Randolph shuffling between the 1 and the 2 and some tall hybrid forward types in Jalen Reynolds and James Farr, not to mention that dirty work transfer Matt Stainbrook has provided down low.
This team has more bounce than my wife's breasts.
I reckon Xavier is a top 25 squad and serious Savory Sixteen contender.