Sun Devil Men's Hoops Notes For NCAA Tournament
March 14, 2009
THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED SUNDAY NIGHT WITH MORE INFORMATION AND PDF OF FINAL RELEASE ONCE OPPONENT, SITE, DATE AND TIME ARE KNOWN.
QUICK RECAP OF THE SEASON: The Arizona State Sun Devils went 24-9 this season under 307-game winner Herb Sendek, and finished at 11-7 in the Pac-10 and tied for third, its best Pac-10 finish since the 1994-95 Sweet Sixteen team finished third under Bill Frieder. The Sun Devils have posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since the 1979-80 team went 22-7 and the 1980-81 team went 24-4. That nugget becomes more noteworthy when you consider this...the last time ASU had back-to-back WINNING seasons was when the 1993-94 team went 15-13 and the 1994-95 team went 24-9 (both under Bill Frieder). After going 8-22 (.267) in Coach Sendek's first year (2006-2007), the Sun Devils are 45-22 (.672) since and giving up just 61.1 points per game in his 96 games and are second in Pac-10 in points allowed this year at 60.1 per game, second-best by a Sun Devil team since 1948-49 (47.6).
HOW DID THE SUN DEVILS GET HERE?: ASU defeated Arizona (68-56) and top-seeded Washington (75-65) but fell to USC in the Pac-10 title game 66-63. ASU had top-50 RPI wins over #15 Washington and #30 BYU (who was 10-0 at the time) on neutral courts, at #35 San Diego State, swept #33 UCLA and beat #38 California and #39 USC in Tempe. ASU also beat #62 Arizona three times, beat #85 UTEP in Anaheim and topped #75 Nebraska (6-0 at time of game) in Tempe. The Sun Devils were 6-4 in road games and 6-2 in neutral games, as 18 of its 33 games were away from Tempe.
ASU NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: This year marks ASU's 13th NCAA appearance and first since 1995. ASU is 12-13 in the previous 12 appearances and has reached the Final Eight on three occasions. The Sun Devils did it in 1961, 1963 and 1975 -- all under coach Ned Wulk. Utah, Oregon State and UCLA eliminated ASU in those years. In 2003, ASU was a 10-seed and beat seventh-seeded Memphis 84-71 before eventual national runner-up Kansas beat ASU 108-76 in Oklahoma City. In 1995 under Bill Frieder ASU (the No. 5 seed in the Southeast) beat Ball State 81-66 and topped Manhattan 64-54 in Memphis to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where it fell to second-ranked Kentucky 97-67 in Birmingham.
COACH SENDEK NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY: Herb Sendek is making his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament with ASU and his seventh overall and is 6-6 overall. He was 1-1 with Miami (Ohio) in 1995, then went 5-5 as his North Carolina State teams made five straight appearances from 2002-2006. He is 5-1 in first-round games.
EVERYONE'S ALL-AMERICAN: Pac-10 Player of the Year James Harden, a first-team All-American by Sporting News, CBSSports.com and FOXSports.com, is averaging 20.8 points per game, 5.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists... ASU is 27-7 when he scores 20, including 14-4 this year...since stepping onto campus last fall, all James Harden has done for Arizona State basketball is help lead it to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since Jimmy Carter gave up his seat to Ronald Reagan (Reagan took office on Jan. 20, 1981) as ASU was 24-4 in 1980-81 and 22-7 in 1979-80), go 5-0 against Arizona (best effort against the Wildcats since ASU won nine straight from 1979-83), sweep UCLA this year for just the third time in school history, lead ASU to its largest win over a ranked opponent in school history with 22-point win over #17 Xavier on Dec. 17, 2007, lead ASU to its first top-10 road win since 1998 when it won at #9 UCLA this year and lead ASU to four straight Pac-10 road wins for the first time since 1980-81.
THE LONE SENIIOR: Jeff Pendergraph, who earned his B.S. in Economics in December in just three and a half years, now has a school-record 118 starts (topping current NBA world champion Eddie House's 114) and leads the nation in field goal percentage at 66.5 percent and was even better in Pac-10 play at 67.3 percent...shooting .764 from the free throw line in his career (357-of-467) and 104-of-133 (.782) on the year...has 1,557 points in 124 career games (12.6 points per game) and 933 career rebounds (7.5 per game)...the 1,557 points is seventh on the ASU career list, as Byron Scott (1979-83) is next on the list, while the 933 career rebounds second...has 29 career double-doubles (11 this year)...will set ASU record for career games, as House again played in 124 as has Pendergraph...averaging 16.4 points and 9.8 boards in his past nine games...averaging 16.2 points and 9.7 boards in his past 13 while shooting 67.2 percent from the floor (80-of-119) and 78.5 percent (51-of-65) from the free throw line.
RECENT HAPPENINGS: ASU ended one of the most impressive streaks in Pac-10 history on Feb. 12, as UCLA had won 32 straight front-end games of Pac-10 weekends (in other words, the Thursday game), a streak dating to a Jan. 20, 2005 home loss to Stanford. ASU shot 60 percent (24-of-40) from the floor, 11-of-18 (.611) from the three-point stripe and 15-of-18 (.833) in its 74-67 win over the No. 11 Bruins...ASU swept the Oregon trip Feb. 5-7, its first Pac-10 road sweep since January of 2005 and just its second Pac-10 road sweep in the past six seasons...ASU made 16-of-17 (.914) free throws at Oregon on Feb. 5, the third-best percentage in school history with a minimum of 15 attempts...ASU held Oregon State to 13 first-half points Feb. 7, ASU's best first-half defensive effort since it led Oregon State 33-13 on Feb. 25, 1995...ASU is averaging 10.5 turnovers in its past 15 contests...in the home sweep of UCLA and USC Feb. 12-15, Derek Glasser averaged 16.5 points, including a career-high 18 points vs. USC...James Harden has played 461 out of a possible 490 minutes in the past 12 games, including three 40-minute games...Jamelle McMillan was 14-of-27 (.480) from the three-point stripe in his past seven games before injuring himself against Stanford and missing the California and Arizona games.
THE SHOOTER: Sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 10.5 points, including 73-of-161 (.453) from the three-point stripe, in his past 25 games. He has posted double digits in 16 of his past 24 games. He is shooting 85-of-192 (.443) from the three-point stripe.
THE POINT GUARD: Point guard Derek Glasser, who suffered a neck strain against Oregon and sat the OSU Feb. 7 road win, played 42 minutes without a turnover in the Jan. 17 overtime win at ninth-ranked UCLA and followed that up with clutch shots at Arizona on Jan. 21 and vs. No. 11 UCLA on Feb. 12. He is 175-of-212 (.825) from the free throw line and has played 18 turnover free games in his 95-game career. He earned Pac-10 All-Tournament honors by averaging 13.7 points in the three games. He shot 16-of-31 (.516) from the field, made 5-of-11 (.455) from the three-point stripe and had 12 assists and just four turnovers while averaging 37.3 minutes per game.
SPARKY MAKES FREE THROWS: ASU shot .739 from the free throw line last year, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and second-best in past 21 seasons, and is shooting just above that pace this year (.741).
WIN AT 50: ASU is 29-2 when it shoots 50 percent under Herb Sendek and had won 27 straight before it fell to USC in the Pac-10 Tournament despite shooting 53.1 percent (26-of-49). It was 12-0 last year and is 15-1 this year when it shoots 50 percent.