Men's Hoops Plays At USC Saturday At 7:30 PT on FSN Arizona

Feb. 1, 2008

SUN DEVIL DATA: Arizona State, 14-6 and 4-4 in the Pac-10 under second-year coach Herb Sendek, travels to USC on Saturday, Feb. 2 for a 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT tip broadcast on FSN Arizona and Sports KTAR 620 AM. ASU is coming off back-to-back regular season games against top 10 teams for just the second time in history with results at both ends of the scale, as it lost a heartbreaker to No. 6 Washington State 56-55 on Jan. 26 and then fell behind early to fifth-ranked UCLA on Thursday and never got back in the game in an 84-51 loss. The only other time ASU played back-to-back games against top-10 teams in the regular season was in 2003-2004, when ASU fell to fourth-ranked Arizona 93-74 on Jan. 3 and then fell to fourth-ranked Stanford after the rankings came out a week later 63-62 on Jan. 8. After starting last year 6-19, ASU is 16-9 in its past 25 games, with the first win of the 16 a 68-58 win over No. 22 USC on Feb. 18, 2007. ASU fell out of the rankings this week and before its current four-game skid, ASU had won 10 straight, including wins over Xavier, Arizona, Oregon and at California, the program's best streak since an 11-game run in 1980-81.

QUICK NOTES: USC leads the series against ASU 44-30 but the teams have split games the past two seasons...the teams have split the last four games at USC with ASU wins on Feb. 4, 2006 (68-65) and on Jan. 17, 2004 (100-85)...in three of the last four seasons, ASU has lost to UCLA in the opening game of Pac-10 weekend but topped USC in the second game...ASU ended a streak of 22 straight losses to ranked teams with the Feb. 18 win last year over USC...ASU had 47 second-half points in the Feb. 18 win, the most in the 50 games of the Herb Sendek era, and had a season-low nine turnovers...USC enters the game best in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense and 14th in the nation while ASU is shooting 37.8 percent in its current four-game skid...ASU is second in the league and 17th in the nation in turnovers per game (12.1) while USC is last in the league (14.9).

FRESHMEN: Freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie 30-game season. Through 20 games, the numbers now read 125 out of 250 starts in his 50-games. That means in his two years, ASU's has had freshmen make 50 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 54 starts (.216), juniors 37 (.148) and seniors 34 (.136). Against Xavier on Dec. 15, ASU started four freshmen for the first time in school history. James Harden, Ty Abbott and Jamelle McMillan started against Illinois on Nov. 19, the first time in school history that three freshmen started the opener.

HARDEN UPDATE: ASU is led by the Pac-10's youngest player, James Harden (turned 18 on Aug. 26), who leads the team in scoring (18.4 ppg./fifth in Pac-10), steals (1.8 spg./first) and minutes per game (32.8). He is shooting .541 from the field, .765 from the free throw line (tenth in Pac-10) and .418 from the three-point stripe (ninth in Pac-10). Harden is the first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984 (it was Chris Sandle before you ask). He has 10 20-point games, including five straight games from Dec. 29-Jan. 17 which is a first for an ASU freshman. He is averaging 20.5 points and 4.9 boards in Pac-10 games. He was named as a top 30 midseason finalist for the Wooden Award, one of just six freshmen on the list and one of seven Pac-10 players noted. He is trying to become just the fifth freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals. The others are Jason Kidd of California (3.8 spg/1993), Baron Davis of UCLA (2.4 spg/1998) and USC's Errick Craven (2.1 spg/2002) and Gabe Pruitt (1.9 spg/2005). He also has been named a finalist for the Naismith Award.

IN THE MIDDLE: Junior Jeff Pendergraph has 31 blocks (he had 45 total in his first two seasons) and is shooting .609 from the field and .805 from the free throw line. He has three double-doubles this year and 16 in his career. Pendergraph led the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding (9.1) last year, as his rebounding average matched the second-best mark by a Sun Devil in the past 26 seasons.

RANKINGS: For the first time since the final poll of 1994-95 (March 13) ASU hit the Associated Press rankings, as they were No. 22 and also No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' poll on Jan. 14. ASU was ranked No. 24 in the Jan. 21 AP poll. Coach Sendek had the Sun Devils in the rankings in his second year, two years prior to his rebuilding effort at NC State that resulted in five straight NCAA Tournaments (2002-06).

FRESH(MEN) STARTS: ASU freshmen made 69 starts in 2006-2007 -- Christian Polk (26), Jerren Shipp (22) and Derek Glasser (21). The 69 starts was the most in the Pac-10, ahead of Washington (68) and USC (65). Stanford (49), Cal (48), Arizona and Oregon State (43), Oregon (33), Washington State (4) and UCLA (1) complete the league's 423 freshmen starts. ASU freshmen have made 56 starts this year.

QUICK NOTES: ASU held Pac-10 scoring leader Oregon (80.4 ppg.) to 54 points on Jan. 3, UO's fewest points in the past 61 games. Last year ASU fell at No. 13 Oregon 55-51 on Feb. 8, 2007, as the 55 points was a Duck season-low last year...ASU's 72-53 win on Jan. 5 over Oregon State was its biggest margin of victory in the Pac-10 since a 108-78 win over USC on Feb. 13, 2003...Derek Glasser has made 34-of-42 (.810) free throws this year and is 69-of-87 (.793) in his 50-game career. He had a career-high nine assists against Idaho on Dec. 22, the most by a Sun Devil since Antwi Atuahene had 10 vs. Oregon on Feb. 11, 2006 (most in past 56 games). Glasser has 64 assists and just 13 turnovers in the past 14 games and has 30 assists and five turnovers in Pac-10 play...He leads the Pac-10 and is second in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (3.48)...Jerren Shipp matched a career-best with nine boards at California and played a career-best 42 minutes against Arizona on Jan. 9...Christian Polk is 43-of-54 (.796) from the foul line in his 47-game career...Ty Abbott has 48 three-pointers (2.40 per game), fourth-best by a freshman in ASU history...James Harden has 10 20-point games...ASU set a school record by making 73.3 percent of its three-pointers (11-of-15) against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 29. It also shot 72.1 percent from the field for the game (31-of-43), second-best in school history...after averaging 58.5 points per game last year, ASU scored 54 in the first half against Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 28. The 54 first-half points (most since 58-30 lead against USC on Feb. 13, 2003) was more than it scored in 10 games last year...ASU outrebounded Cal Poly by 29 on Nov. 26 (52-23), its best rebounding margin since a 49-19 output vs. American-Puerto Rico on Nov. 26, 1997...ASU also held Cal Poly to 14-of-55 (.255) from the floor, its best defensive effort since Dec. 2, 2000, when it held eventual NCAA Tournament bound BYU to 15-of-59 (.254), then held Delaware State to .208 shooting (11-of-53)...

THE TREE: Herb Sendek has six former assistants who are currently D-I head coaches: Jim Christian, Kent State, Miami Assistant (1994-96); Charlie Coles, Miami (Ohio), Miami Assistant (1994-96); Larry Hunter, Western Carolina, NC State Assistant (2001-05); Ron Hunter, IUPUI, Miami Assistant (1993-94); Thad Matta, Ohio State, Miami Assistant (1994-95) and Sean Miller, Xavier, Miami (1994-96) and NC State Assistant (1996-2000). Coles, Miller and Matta all led their teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament.

EXPECT THIS TO BE A STAPLE AT ASU: ASU is shooting .741 from the free throw line. In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FT percentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. While at NC State, his squads shot 71.3 percent, as his poorest FT shooting team was his first year (1996-97/.649). One good note on Coach Herb Sendek and his 2003-04 NC State team is that in the past nine seasons, that NC State team's .799 final free throw percentage is tied for the best in the NCAA, along with St. Joseph in 2005-06.

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 15th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 276-186 (.597) in 15 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 44-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the second-youngest coach in the Pac-10 behind only second-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. He led NC State to five 20-win seasons in his final seven years. Another overlooked note is his 10-year stay at NC State. To compare it to the Pac-10, since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10 years: Lute Olson (24 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12th at California) and Ernie Kent (11th at Oregon).

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