Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
Despite being predicted to reside near the bottom of the conference going into the season, the Sun Devils and the Trojans have been very competitive in Pac-12 play, but whose success comes as more of a surprise?
Which team's strong showing thus far in conference play has been more surprising, USC or Arizona State?
Parker Baruh, Ralphie Report: Without question, Arizona State's strong showing has been more surprising than USC's. Both of these teams are miles ahead of where they were at this point last year, but the improvement from Arizona State's Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachynski has been crucial for Herb Sendek. Felix is averaging 14.6 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game while Bachynski is making his presence known inside with 4.4 blocks per game and 7.1 rebounds per game. Jahii Carson has been fantastic for the Sun Devils as well. Despite getting outplayed by Mark Lyons on Saturday, the point guard still remains one of, if not the best in the Pac-12 and has been a key in the Sun Devils' resurgence.
Jack Follman Pacific Takes - Arizona State, the Trojans almost always have talent, it has always just been a question of if they can actually play together, but I honestly thought that the Sun Devils were dead under Herb Sendek and have been surprised with just how great Jahii Carson has been.
NorcalNick, California Golden Blogs: Honestly, neither team has really surprised me too much - both teams have wins over Oregon State and Utah, which is hardly stunning. USC isn't an urgent care clinic and ASU has Jahii Carson, so beating the two worst teams in the conference shouldn't cause much of a stir.
Ah, but both teams have 3 wins, don't they. USC upset Stanford at home, while ASU upset Colorado at home. I suppose I'll give the nod to ASU, then, as being more surprising, if only because I think Colorado is a better win than Stanford. But considering how both the Buffs and the Cardinal have struggled, even those upsets aren't shocks. I think that both USC and ASU will fade in the standings as their schedules stiffen.
Andy Wooldridge, Building The Dam: ASU. They have the better win, over Colorado, which I didn't think was even a possibility at the start of the season. This could very well change in the next few days, and not just because they will meet. I'm impressed with Bob Cantu so far, and interested to see if he turns out to be able to get something out of the Trojans that Kevin O'Neill could never get close to.
Jack Blanchat, Rule of Tree: It has to be Arizona State. USC's "good start" looks like it will be quickly mitigated anyway - they're just 8-11 overall - while the Sun Devils have an extremely solid record and competed well in their last game against Oregon, the hottest team in the conference.
Adam Butler, PacHoops: I think I'm most impressed by ASU as they've systematically made their way to a good conference start. USC seems to just roll the ball out there and hope for the best and, to date, they best has turned out. I think that's more a result of raw talent and would seem to be less sustainable than what ASU is doing. They have all the pieces to compete in any game they play in but perhaps just not quite enough. They're playing great team defense (third best DE in the conference) and Jahii Carson is really good.