To build toward something special you need to consistent in what you do. The Arizona State men’s basketball team is still looking for that consistency even after beating Colorado 80-66 on Saturday night.
After starting their season 12-0, the Sun Devils have fallen into some inconsistent play. They’ve lost to Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, and Stanford. The number three ranking the Sun Devils had is long gone.
As the season heads into February the Sun Devils need to get back to what was making them successful early on in the season. Arizona State also needs to add some new wrinkles to their offense.
Arizona State gets their points from the three point arc and off a fast paced offense. Teams have figured out how to slow down this fast paced team. If you have paid attention to their games you have seen the opposing teams use the press, slow the pace of the game down, and extend their defense to the three point line to counter act the Devils ability to score quickly.
It has worked. The Sun Devils have shown signs of definite frustration during their games. The body language shows everything with this crop of Sun Devils. Bodies slump, heads go down, and the complaining to the referees all pick up when the Sun Devils get frustrated. They have certainly taken on the personality of their coach Bobby Hurley.
Whether its going good or bad, Hurley’s personality is inked all over this team. When the team is struggling, the fiery Coach Hurley usually turns his frustration towards the refs. The plays feed off of that and do the same when things go bad.
It’s almost a cliché to say that Bobby Hurley complains to much. He does. Sometimes you wonder how the referees continually take the near constant barrage of barking that Hurley hurls towards the refs. Not sure many people could handle it like the refs do. I think this is a change that Hurley needs to work on. It doesn’t help the team down the stretch of a game if he is standing their challenging every call.
You have a team to coach.
Speaking of coaching. Here’s something that needs to change. Coming out of time outs, the Sun Devils appear that they are only worried about just getting the ball inbounds. Having some type of idea of idea where you want to go would be nice to see. Seeing a set play that takes advantage of the Sun Devils strengths needs to be a bigger focus for Arizona State.
I’ve heard many fans and other media complain about the lack of having a set play coming out of timeouts. We, as college basketball fans, know that once conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament start this type of detail is needed to make a big run in any tournament.
Discipline. You need it any aspect of life. The Devils just haven’t shown enough of it.
The Sun Devils have suffered from some ill-timed behind the back passes, not getting back on defense, and to much dribbling on the offensive end.
John Stockton always made the easy pass. Why complicate things right?
On Thursday night against Utah and on Saturday night against Colorado, there were times where a simple pass would have sufficed to make the play. However, Sun Devil players made behind the back passes and it resulted in a turnover. Those passes led to easy points. Make the easy pass gentlemen, I guarantee it’ll work out just fine for you.
Tra Holder and Shannon Evans spend a ton of time dribbling the ball. Part of it is because they are the point guard and shooting guard for the Sun Devils. This amount of dribbling needs to be cut down though. Get you team into their offensive set and start moving the ball. Moving the ball gets people open because it gets the defensive players out of position.
The Sun Devils have a quick backcourt. This quickness needs to be an advantage every time down the court, but it can’t be if Holder and Evans are spending 25 seconds dribbling the ball around trying to go one on one.
The Pac-12 Conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament are coming up in the next six weeks or so. The problems that the Sun Devils have can certainly be fixed before then.
The Sun Devils just have to recognize these issues and fix them.