Full disclosure, I’m rooting for my alma mater, the Arizona State Sun Devils tonight. While that may make me a #DisloyalIdiot, once my family uprooted to Arizona when I was 9, the trek back to Syracuse for undergrad was a hill too steep. My Syracuse Orange fandom still can’t be checked, I made the trip out to Houston (worst city in America? — Ed. Note: I personally love Houston) for the Final Four for the end of the run that the winner of tonight’s game can hope to replicate.
I know how much Jim Boeheim likes taking media advice, so I’m sure he will be pouring over NunesMagician to see a scouting report from a guy who made his media debut yesterday at House of Sparky.
Here’s how I would look to stop the Devils.
1. The Obvious: When the team’s go out for the opening tip, the size discrepancy is going to be glaring. This ASU team is extremely talented, but size needed to compete against a team like Syracuse isn’t going to come until next year’s talented crop of freshman and transfers. Dequon Lake is a superior big to Romello White, but Paschal Chukwu shouldn’t have any trouble handling either on the defensive end.
2. Kodi Justice: I’ve watched enough Syracuse basketball in my day to know a zone killer when I see one, and Justice is it. At 6’5, he is ASU’s biggest guard, and is one of the most fearless shooters the Devils have. Look for him to pull up from the secondary logo at least once, and if the Devils prevail, to make a huge 3 late.
3. Remy for 3: Remy Martin is the emotional heartbeat of this team, and one of the big complaints for ASU fans is that Hurley relies on his 3 seniors too much and ignores his do-it-all freshman at times. He is a tenacious defender who could give Frank Howard fits.
4. Extend The Zone: This ASU team has struggled mightily against zone defense all season. Romello White is a decent post scorer, but Pascal should easily handle him on his own. Mickey Mitchell should be the guy that distributes and hits free throw line jumpers in the soft spot of the zone, but he hasn’t shown once he is capable of handling that load (and his shoe game is terrible, you’ll see.) ASU has a three headed monster at guard who can all get hot from 3. If the zone is slow to the corners, or let’s Kodi Justice get comfortable in a spot (any spot), ASU could roll.
Winner of this game cuts down the nets in San Antonio! (maybe)