Men's Hoops Host USC Saturday At 4 p.m.

Feb. 29, 2008

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SUN DEVIL DATA: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 17-9 and 7-7 in the Pac-10 under second-year coach Herb Sendek, takes on the USC Trojans (18-9; 9-6) on Saturday (March 1) at 4 p.m. MT, with FSN Arizona and 92.3 FM on the call. ASU, picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll, is 19-13 in its past 32 games after starting last year 6-19. It has clinched a winning season despite having four freshmen make 76 starts (tops in the Pac-10), playing more than 45 percent of the minutes and scoring more than 50 percent of the points. UCLA played a solid game in Thursday night's 70-49 win over ASU as Darren Collison was 5-of-6 from the three-point stripe and the Bruins made 10-of-20 from beyond the arc and outrebounded ASU by 14 (34-20). Freshmen James Harden and Rihards Kuksiks both had 11 points to lead ASU, as Kuksiks is averaging 11 points in the past five games and has made 13 three-pointers in that time.

SOLID NOTES ON THESE TWO TEAMS: According to the Friday update of, ASU and USC are the only top 100 teams in the RPI to play nine games against top 25 teams. USC is 2-7 while ASU is 4-5. Also, ASU and USC easily lead the league in starts by freshmen both this year and in the past two years. ASU has 73 freshmen starts while USC has 58 this season. Oregon State and Arizona (33 each) and UCLA (28) round out the top five. Dating to last year, ASU's 145 freshmen starts and USC's 120 are the tops in the league, with no other Pac-10 squad above the century mark.

RPI NOTES: The Sun Devils are just one of seven teams with four wins over top 25 RPI teams ( as of Friday (Feb. 29), as it is 4-5. ASU's wins are over #6 Xavier, two wins over current #21 Arizona and the Feb. 14 win over current No. 19 Stanford. Other teams with four RPI top 25 wins are UCLA (5-1), Louisville (5-2), UCONN (5-3), Duke (4-1), Wisconsin (4-2) and Purdue (4-3). Notable Pac-10 records vs. the top 25 in addition to UCLA and ASU are Stanford (3-1), Arizona (2-5), Washington State (0-5), USC (2-7), Oregon (2-5), California (1-6) and Washington (2-6). ASU and UCLA are the only Pac-10 teams to have wins over top-25 teams outside the league, as UCLA defeated current #16 Michigan State 68-63 in addition to ASU's Xavier victory. ASU's wins over Xavier and Stanford are especially impressive when you consider that Xavier has gone 16-2 since losing at ASU 77-55 on Dec. 15, with its only losses against current No. 1 Tennessee and at Temple. The Musketeers are on a 10-game win streak. Stanford's 72-68 loss at ASU on Feb. 14 is its only loss in the past 10 games. ASU also is one of just four teams that has wins over at least two teams in the current Associated Press top -10, as Stanford is eighth and Xavier ninth in the Feb. 25 poll. Texas has beaten #1 Tennessee, #4 UCLA and #6 Kansas, Duke beat #10 Wisconsin and #3 North Carolina and Tennessee has wins over #2 Memphis and #9 Xavier.

LEFTY II: Quickly becoming the most famous Sun Devil southpaw since Phil Mickelson, James Harden has 13 20-point games on the year, topping Ike Diogu's ASU freshman record of 12 set in 2002-03. His 17.7 points per game mark is the second-best freshmen mark in ASU history. Harden is the youngest player in the Pac-10, turning 18 this past August.

1. 19.0, Ike Diogu, 2002-03
2. 17.7, James Harden, 2007-08
3. 15.4, Jamal Faulkner, 1990-91
4. 13.6, Byron Scott, 1979-80
5. 13.0, Ron Riley, 1992-93

A LOT OF MINUTES: James Harden and Ty Abbott are both beyond the pace set by Byron Scott in 1979-80 for Sun Devil freshmen minutes played in Pac-10 games. Harden is averaging 35.9 minutes per game in the 15 league games while Abbott is at 34.7. Derek Glasser averaged 32.2 minutes last year.

1. 35.9, James Harden, 2007-08
2. 34.7, Ty Abbott, 2007-08
3. 34.2, Byron Scott, 1979-80
4. 33.3, Ike Diogu, 2002-03
5. 32.2, Derek Glasser, 2006-07

VS. USC (FEB. 2): ASU trailed USC at the half on Feb. 2 30-26 but took a 36-32 lead on five points by James Harden, but the freshmen, who had zero fouls at the half, picked up four in a span of 2:20 and had to take a seat on the pine as USC went on a 11-0 run over a 4:24 stretch and held off ASU 67-53. Harden had 26 points to lead all scorers, but USC outscored ASU 27-14 in the paint in a game that had seven ties and six lead changes in the first half. Harden was 8-of-9 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free throw line in 33 minutes. USC shot 60 percent (12-of-20) from the field in the second half as it now leads the series 45-30.

CLOSE GAME UPDATE: Last year, ASU was 4-17 in games decided by 10 points or less, but this year the Sun Devils are a Pac-10 best 7-2 with wins over LSU (87-84 in Maui), Montana State (66-62), Oregon (62-54), Arizona twice (64-59 in OT and 59-54 in Tucson), at California (99-90 in double OT) and vs. seventh-ranked Stanford (72-68 in OT). Its only losses in that category were a 56-55 heartbreaker to sixth-ranked Washington State on Jan. 26 and 76-73 loss to Cal on Feb. 16. ASU lost its only overtime game last year but is 4-0 this year with the wins over LSU, Arizona, at Cal and vs. #7 Stanford. Also, ASU was 3-12 in two-possession games last year (six points or less or OT) but is 6-2 this year.

Arizona State (4-0 in 2007-08)
California (4-0 in 2006-07)
USC (4-1 in 2003-04)
Arizona State (4-2 in 1985-86)
Arizona State (5-0 in 1980-81)

1. Arizona State, 7-2 (.778)
2. UCLA, 7-3 (.700)
3. Stanford, 9-4 (.692)
4. Washington, 7-5 (.583)
4. WSU, 7-5 (.583)
6. USC, 6-5 (.545)
7. California, 9-8 (.529)
8. Arizona, 6-8 (.429)
9. Oregon, 6-10 (.375)
10. Oregon State, 2-7 (.222)

HARDEN ON DEFENSE: James Harden is trying to become just the fifth freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals. He also had 17 blocks, seventh on the ASU freshmen list and four behind Tommy Smith (21 in 1999-2000) for the sixth spot. His 50 steals already is tied for 11th-best in Pac-10 history for a freshman.

PAC-10 FRESHMEN STEALS1. Jason Kidd Cal, 1992-93, 110
2. Brevin Knight, Stanford, 1993-94, 77
3. Errick Craven, USC, 2001-02, 68
4. Eddie House, ASU, 1996-97, 59
5. Gary Payton, OSU, 1986-87, 58
6. Gabe Pruitt, USC, 2004-05, 56
7. Brandon Granville, USC, 1998-99, 54
8. Justin Dentmon, UW, 2004-05, 52
8. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Cal, 1995-96, 52
10. Shantay Legans, Cal, 1999-2000, 51
11. James Harden , ASU, 2007-2008, 50
11. Deaundra Turner, OSU, 1997-98, 50

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 279-190 (.594) 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 full-time coach in the Pac-10 behind only second-year coach Tony Bennett of WSU.

MOVING IN ON 1,000: Jeff Pendergraph needs just nine points to become the 30th member of the ASU 1,000-point club. He has 991 points through 84 career games (11.8 points per game). He also has 613 career rebounds just 43 away from joining the ASU top-10 list. He has 42 blocks (after posting 45 in his first two seasons) and is shooting .581 from the field (fifth in the Pac-10) and .785 from the free throw line. Pendergraph led the team in scoring (12.1) and rebounding (9.1) last year. His 87 career blocks is seventh in ASU history, six behind Kurt Nimphius (1976-80).

DON'T COUNT THE DEVILS OUT: The Sun Devils came back from double-digit deficits in two recent big wins, as it put the brakes on a five-game losing skid in dramatic fashion on Feb. 10 in Tucson, falling behind 22-6 but coming back to take a 13-point second-half lead and winning 59-54 to sweep Arizona for the first time since 1994-95 (and notch first win in Tucson since March 11, 1995). Then on Feb. 14 against seventh-ranked Stanford, ASU was down by 14 in the second half and by seven with 1:49 left before a rally put the game into overtime as ASU won 72-68. On Feb. 14 against California, ASU jumped out to a 26-17 lead but Cal closed the gap to 31-30 at the half and ASU uncharacteristically shot just 7-of-14 (.500) from the foul line in a 76-73 loss. ASU made seven three-pointers in the final 1:11 to chop an 11-point deficit to three.

TREE: Herb Sendek has six former assistants who are 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.

FRESHMEN: Freshmen accounted for a school-record 69 of 150 starts in Herb Sendek's rookie 30-game season. Through 26 games, the numbers now read 145 out of 285 starts in his 57 games (freshmen have started 76 games this year, easily the most in the Pac-10). In his two years, ASU has had freshmen make 50.9 percent of the starts. Sophomores have made 61 starts (.214), juniors 44 (.154) and seniors 35 (.123). Against Xavier on Dec. 15, ASU started four freshmen for the first time in school history. ASU'sfreshmen have accounted for 50.8 percent of the points this year.

ASU Men's Basketball Freshmen Starts
Year (Starts): Freshman
2007-2008 (76): Ty Abbott (267James Harden (26), Jamelle McMillan (16), Rihards Kuksiks (7)
2006-2007 (69): Derek Glasser (21), Christian Polk (26), Jerren Shipp (22)
1991-1992 (45): Mario Bennett (25), Tony Ronaldson (20)

JUST HOW GOOD ARE THEY?: Coming into this season, only 11 Pac-10 freshman had averaged 15.6 points or more in overall games. Currently there are four freshmen above that number. Only two Pac-10 freshmen have averaged 19 points and led their team to a NCAA Tournament berth (Ike Diogu of Arizona State in 2002-03 and Shareef Abdur Rahim of Cal in 1995-96).

1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Cal, 1995-96, 21.1 (NCAA team went 17-11)
2. Jerryd Bayless, Arizona, 2007-08, 20.6 (UA 17-11 and 7-8)
2. Harold Miner, USC, 1989-90, 20.6 (Team went 12-16)
4. O.J. Mayo, USC, 2007-08, 20.1 (USC 18-9 and 9-6)
5. Ike Diogu, ASU, 2002-03, 19.0 (NCAA team went 20-12)
6. Don McLean, UCLA, 1988-89, 18.6 (NCAA team went 21-10)
7. Cliff Robinson, USC, 1977-78, 18.4 (Team went 14-13)
8. James Harden, ASU, 2007-08, 17.7 (ASU 17-10 and 7-8)
9. Tom Lewis, USC, 1985-86, 17.6 (Team went 11-17)
10. Todd Lichti, Stanford, 1985-86, 17.2 (Team went 14-16 overall)
11. Kevin Love, UCLA, 2007-08, 17.0 (UCLA 25-3 overall and 13-2)
12. Ryan Anderson, California, 2006-07, 16.3 (Team went 16-17 overal
l)13. Jason Kapono, UCLA, 1999-2000, 16.0 (NCAA team went 21-12)
14. Chase Budinger, Arizona, 2006-07, 15.6 (NCAA team went 20-11)
14. Sean Elliott, Arizona, 1985-86, 15.6 (NCAA team went 23-9)

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