Arizona State is coming off of three straight 20 win seasons and is looking to take the next step and make a NCAA tournament run. In an effort to help them in the RPI for NCAA tournament time which is why New Mexico is scheduled, and an interesting fact is that Arizona State has not opened the season on the road since 1992.
Last season, the Sun Devils finished second in a weak Pac-10 last year and are selected fourth this year in the preseason poll. The Sun Devils are one of two teams that starts three seniors in Ty Abbott who is an all-conference player, Rihards Kuksiks the teams leading score and Jamelle McMillan.
The Sun Devils are expected to startseniors Ty Abbott, Jamelle McMillan and Rihards Kuksiks along with sophomores Trent Lockett and the seven foot Ruslan Pateev. Freshman forward Chanse Creekmur could be among the first off the bench.
Outside of the three seniors, ASU will play five freshman and two junior college transfers, but the inexperience could be an issue against a very good New Mexico team on the road. Last year, the Sun Devils were 5-5 on the road and with the Pit being one of the toughest places to play it will be difficult for Arizona State to get the win Tuesday night.
Plus, toss in the fact that Arizona State is not a team that can score a lot of points, last year they averages only 67 points per game while New Mexico averaged 76 per game last year.
New Mexico is really good at home and with Arizona State bringing back a handful of players from last years mediocre team along with seven newcomers it will take some time for them to gel together. Expect the Lobos to win by about 10 points.