The pressure to win for Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek was at an all-time high heading into the season. Now although that pressure is still on the Sun Devils’ lead man, the play of his squad this season is certainly raising some eyebrows.
On Sunday evening, Arizona State reached a new high on the year, improving to 2-0 within the Pac-12 with a statement win over Colorado. The Buffaloes, who were stunned in a controversial finish at Arizona on Thursday night, are now 0-2 to begin league play.
The story however, is all about the Sun Devils and their 13-2 start to the season.
Now, it’s probably not best to automatically jump to conclusions, but the resume for the Sun Devils is certainly exceeding expectations at this point in the season. Wins over Colorado and Arkansas are bright spots, while their worse loss on the season was against DePaul.
The key to their early-season success however, has been their offensive balance and consistency. Freshman guard Jahii Carson was forced to sit out all of last season after failing to be cleared by the NCAA, but now has seemingly helped turn this Sun Devils squad around.
While Carson is the leading the team in scoring, averaging 16.7 points per game, its the compliments around him that have allowed Arizona State to position themselves where they currently stand. Senior wing Carrick Felix may just be the best compliment in this regard.
In the Sun Devils’ win over Colorado, Felix led the way with 20 points on a night in which Carson was limited to only five points offensively. On paper, if Carson is going to finish the contest with five points, you may not find Arizona State winning, but once again, that bodes to the Sun Devils’ improvements.
While things appear bright at the moment for Arizona State, the season remains long, so focus is certainly the team’s top priority. A trip north to the state of Oregon will test the Sun Devils this week as dates with Oregon and Oregon State are on the docket.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS