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2017 Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament

Presented by New York Life
Event: March 8-11
T-Mobile Arena | Las Vegas, NV

2017 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament first round preview: No. 8 Arizona State vs. No. 9 Stanford

Mar 7, 2017

When: Wednesday, March 8 at noon PT / 1 p.m. MT
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Pac-12 Network, Arizona and Bay Area
On the call: Roxy Bernstein, Don MacLean and Jill Savage
Live Stream:

This might be an 8-9 game, but the two teams arrive in Las Vegas with different styles. While the Cardinal likes to pound the ball inside, the Sun Devils feature a bevy of talented guards – Torian Graham, Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II -- which have helped run up the score when these two teams meet.

“It’s a contrast of styles,” Hurley said. “They play inside-out and are really trying to throw it in to [Reid] Travis and [Michael] Humphrey. We’re outside-in, attacking the rim or shooting the 3. Different teams, different styles but both very effective.”

Wednesday’s matchup will kickoff the 2017 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas, marking the inaugural tipoff at newly-constructed T-Moblie Arena just off The Strip. The winner will advance to face top-seeded Oregon in Thursday’s noon PT quarterfinal.

No. 8 Arizona State (14-17 overall, 7-11 Pac-12)

The Sun Devils are trying to avoid their one-game appearance in the Pac-12 Tourney. ASU coach Bobby Hurley, who won a pair of NCAA titles as a player with Duke, knows a thing or two about making deep tournament runs.

“You have to balance desperation with playing confidently,” Hurley said. “You don’t want to be tight. We’re trying to stick to the routine in our practices, yet keep the guys loose and let them know what’s at stake. It’s a delicate balance to find.”

Players to watch

Torian Graham, G, Senior 
Height/weight: 6-5, 195 
Key stats: 18.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.2 3pg

ASU took the first two meetings between the two schools, led by a couple of stellar performances by Graham, who averaged 27 points and 7 rebounds per contest. The sharpshooter was the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer and showed a flare for the dramatic against the Card, draining this game-winning 3 to send Tempe wild.

Obinna Oleka, F, Senior
Height/weight: 6-8, 225
Key stats: 12.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 0.8 bpg

Oleka has been a high-flying, rim-rattling presence for the Sun Devils’ frontcourt this season but will have his hands full on Wednesday. Stanford boasts one of the top big-men duos in the Pac-12 and Oleka will be tasked with trying to slow it down.

No. 9 Stanford (14-16 overall, 6-12 Pac-12)

After making it through his first Pac-12 gauntlet as a head coach, Jerod Haase is hoping his team can play its way into a quarterfinals matchup with the Ducks. Haase said that his staff won’t have to look hard at the scouting report after playing the Sun Devils twice throughout the season.

“We have to be able to challenge them, and be quick and nimble defensively,” Haase said. “We’re excited to be here, but at the same time we’re coming down to Vegas to do some nice things.

The Allen twins, Marcus and Malcolm, also have to be excited to return to their hometown of Las Vegas while playing for a crown from the Conference of Champions.

Players to watch

Reid Travis, F, Junior
Height/weight: 6-8, 225
Key stats: 17.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 57.0 FG%

Travis has become a bruising presence on the low block for the Cardinal in his junior season, leading the squad in scoring and rebounding. He’s a physical player who doesn’t mind throwing his body around and getting to the line.

Michael Humphrey, F, Junior
Height/weight: 6-9, 245
Key stats: 9.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 45.1 FG%

The other half of Stanford’s imposing starting frontcourt, Humphrey is an athletic big, man who also loves to throw down big dunks. Humphrey also has a nice shooting touch and can present major matchup problems for opposing defenses.