Thursday, March 12, 2009

Game 3: Arizona vs. Arizona State



WHEN/WHERE: Noon today, Staples Center


ARIZONA (19-12, 9-9 Pac-10)

Wildcats starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Nic Wise (Jr.) 15.0 2.4 4.6
G Kyle Fogg (Jr.) 6.4 2.4 1.7
F Chase Budinger (Jr.) 18.2 6.4 3.4
F Jamelle Horne (So.) 6.7 5.1 1.3
C Jordan Hill (Jr.) 18.5 11.0 1.4

ARIZONA STATE (22-8, 11-7)

Sun Deviks starting lineup Pts. Reb. Ast.
G Derek Glasser (Jr.) 8.0 2.0 4.9
G Ty Abbott(So.) 6.3 4.1 1.6
G James Harden (So.) 20.8 5.4 4.1
G Rihards Kuksiks (So.) 10.8 4.0 1.4
C Jeff Pendergraph (Sr.) 14.4 8.5 1.0

WHAT TO KNOW: A brutal rivalry begins the day and the Wildcats need this game a lot more than their counterparts to the north. Arizona is squarely on the bubble and a third loss to Arizona State likely would end its NCAA Tournament hopes. So there is much to play for and this is what makes Pac-10 Tournaments fun -- rivalry games. The Wildcats have perhaps the most talented trio in the conference with Wise, Budinger and Hill, but they rarely play well all in the same game. ... Arizona State stomped on Cal in its season finale and is playing for NCAA seeding, but what team will show up? The Good Sun Devils who dominated Cal, beat UCLA twice and Arizona twice or the bad Devils who lost to Washington State twice, at USC and home to Stanford. ... Harden is the best player in the country college fans really don't know much about. Although his beard makes him look like Isaac Hayes, he is barely 20 years ago. The splendid scorer has tallied double figures in 27 of 30 games en route to Pac-10 Player of the Year honors.

WHO TO WATCH: Kuksiks. The Latvian sharpshooter is nearly a 46 percent 3-point shooter and takes advantage of Harden's dribble penetration and kick outs. He should have a big game.

HEAD TO HEAD: This is the third meeting between the two clubs and Arizona State has won both previous games, a 53-47 win at Tucson on Jan. 21 and 70-68 victory on Feb. 22 in Tempe. Arizona State show 53 percent in the second win.

WASHBURN'S PICK: The Wildcats win a high-scoring contest 75-70 and cling to their NCAA hopes.

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