Fresh off a 73-61 victory over USC, the Pack face an even tougher PAC-12 opponent in the No. 20 ASU Sun Devils Friday, Dec. 7, in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic at the Staples Center.
ASU is off to a 7-0 start this season, five of them were won in double digits and they don’t plan on slowing down. Led by ex-Duke and Sacramento Kings point guard Bobby Hurley, the Sun Devils play a quick, up-tempo style of basketball and are second in the nation in rebounding.
A freshman from Montreal, point guard Luguentz Dort leads the team in scoring at 21.7 points per game. Sophomore forward Kimani Lawrence has chipped in with 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds this season.
Senior power forward Zylan Cheatham posted the second triple-double in school history with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in an 83-71 victory over Texas Southern Saturday.
Nevada’s two convincing road wins over Loyola Chicago and USC helped secure their No. 6 rank in the nation, they dropped one spot lower on the AP rankings to Michigan. Nevada is still seen as one of the most complete teams in the country. The Pack are 8-0 and have won each game by double-digits.
Jordan Caroline was named Mountain West Player of the Week for the second time this year. Caroline averaged 19.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists over the last two games, including his sixth double-double of the season.
Nevada’s achilles heel appears to be their offensive flow against zone defenses. USC’s 2-3 zone gave the Wolf Pack headaches in the first half, but they ended up busting the zone with improved shooting from the outside.
Both teams are tall, athletic, defensive minded and love to run the floor. The stage is set for both teams to show why their the top teams in the country, but Nevada’s leadership and depth off the bench may prove to be too much for the Sun Devils down the stretch.