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Men's hoops off to Anaheim for weekend matches

November 24, 2008

Click here for a recap when Coach Sendek's 2005 NC State squad topped Charlotte in the NCAA Tournament


Click here for recap of ASU's Dec. 30, 2000, victory over Charlotte


SUN DEVILS AT DISNEY: The Arizona State's men's hoops team, 21-13 and 9-9 in the Pac-10 last year and 3-0 this season under third-year head coach Herb Sendek, travels to the 76 Classic in Anaheim this weekend in a strong eight-team field. ASU takes on Charlotte in the first round at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT on Thanksgiving (Nov. 27) on ESPNU, while ESPN 860 AM has the radio call. ASU will then meet the winner/loser of the Baylor/Providence matchup on Friday (Nov. 28). ASU, ranked in the national preseason polls for the first time since 1991-92, won the earliest road game in school history (and just its fourth true road game in November in the past 26 seasons) 59-52 at San Diego State on Tuesday (Nov. 18) by making 9-of-13 (.692) field goals and 13-of-16 (.813) free throws in the second half and followed that up with one of the best defensive efforts in the past 60 years with a 61-40 win over Pepperdine on Sunday. In Herb Sendek's 67 games as ASU's coach, the Sun Devils are giving up just 61.4 points per game, while Pac-10 Player of the Week James Harden's 33 points against Pepperdine on Sunday is the most by a Sun Devil in the past 104 games. ASU, ranked 14th in both major polls this week, has gone 26-16 (.619) after starting Herb Sendek's first year 6-19.

QUICK RECAP FROM LAST YEAR: Last year, ASU posted a 20-win season for just the fourth time in 27 years last year after being picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 preseason media poll. The Sun Devils return their top seven scorers and 94.6 percent of their scoring in 2008-2009 led by All-Pac-10 selections James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph. ASU notched wins over RPI top-60 teams Xavier (9), Stanford (14), USC (28), Arizona (twice, 37) and Oregon (58). Freshmen made a league-leading and school record 96 starts, played more than 47 percent of the minutes and scored more than 52 percent of the points.

THREE-DOT DATA: Ty Abbott has two eight-rebound games this year, he grabbed eight rebounds in two games all of last year...ASU now 8-4 in the past two seasons in games of 10 points or less under Herb Sendek after going 4-17 in his first year...Derek Glasser is 105-of-128 (.820) from the free throw line in his career...sophomore Rihards Kuksiks is averaging 8.5 points in his past 15 games dating to last season, averaging 27.6 minutes per game and hitting 31 three-pointers in that time...ASU's win at San Diego State was just the fourth road-opening win in the past 17 seasons (and just second in past 10 seasons), with others coming in 2004-05 (at Temple), at Texas A & M (1998-99) and at Cincinnati (1997-98)...ASU fell behind San Diego State (20-13 in 2007-08), which had gone 38-7 at home since 2005-06 and had won its past two games against ranked teams in Cox Arena, 15-2 at the 12:46 mark...ASU was down 44-41 but outscored the Aztecs 18-8 in the final six minutes...ASU trailed 24-23 at the half, it was 10-29 in Herb Sendek's first two seasons when trailing at the half...ASU had 35 field goal attempts, its fewest since Jan. 27, 1991, when it was 19-of-33 in a 58-47 win at Stanford...James Harden's 10 assists vs. Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 14 is the most by a Sun Devil in the Herb Sendek era (now 67 games)...the MVSU game was the first time that ASU didn't have a freshman in the starting lineup since Dec. 10, 2005, a 75-71 loss to Utah Valley State, a span of the past previous 86 games...ASU lost its first 10 games away from home in the Herb Sendek era but is 8-9 since.

HERE WE GO WITH JAMES NOTES: ASU is led in scoring by the most famous Sun Devil southpaw since Phil Mickelson, James Harden, who had an ASU freshman record 16 20-point games (seventh-best in school history and tied for third-best in the Pac-10) last year and has 18 20-point games in his career (ASU is 15-3 in those games)...the 19-year old Harden (born August of 1989) was the youngest player in the Pac-10 in 2007-08 and he led the Pac-10 with 73 steals, fifth-best by a freshman in Pac-10 ASU's four overtime games (all wins and three of them in Pac-10 games) he averaged 24.8 ppg and 5.5 rebounds and had 10 ASU's five Pac-10 home wins he averaged 23.4 points, six boards, three assists and two steals as he led ASU to 5-4 Pac-10 home mark. In the prevous four years, ASU was 9-27 in Pac-10 home games...was second on the team in assists (110), including 63 (3.5 per game) in Pac-10 ASU's nine Pac-10 wins he shot 54.5 percent from the floor and was 13-27 from three-point stripe. He averaged 20.0 points and 5.6 boards in those games...shot 45.2 percent from three-point land in road games...through 37 career games, Harden has led or tied for the ASU lead in scoring 28 times and has done the same in rebounding on 13 occasions. He also has led or tied for the team lead in assists in 15 games.

STEADY JEFF: Jeff Pendergraph had 56 blocks last year (he had 45 in his first two seasons) and shot .593 from the field (third in the Pac-10) and .799 from the free throw line (tenth in Pac-10). He has 18 double-doubles in his career. He is shooting .756 from the free throw line in his career (260-of-344). His 102 career blocks is sixth in ASU history. He became the 30th member of the ASU 1,000-point club against USC on March 1. He has 1,102 points in 94 career games (11.7 points per game) and 668 career rebounds (7.1 per game).

GOING BACK TO CALI: ASU will play at least nine games this year in California. It won at San Diego State on Nov. 18, plays three games in Anaheim this week, plays at UCLA, USC, Stanford and California and will play at least one tilt in the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles in March.

76 CLASSIC AT ANAHEIM: ASU travels to Anaheim for the 76 Classic Nov. 27-30 and will meet Charlotte (20-14 last year with a 68 RPI) on Turkey Day (Nov. 27) at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT on ESPNU. ASU and Charlotte have met once, with ASU winning a 91-78 decision on Dec. 30, 2000, over a Charlotte team that would eventually make the NCAA Tournament...Herb Sendek is 1-1 vs. Charlotte, losing 95-78 on Nov. 18, 2000, and then notching a 75-63 NCAA Tournament win in Oklahoma City on March 18, 2005...ASU is 2-1 vs. Baylor, last playing the Bears on Nov. 26, 1988, in Richmond and topped the Bears 89-73. Its only game against Providence was a 56-54 loss on Dec. 29, 1982 in Honolulu.

NICE START: ASU is 3-0 for the fourth time in the past 14 seasons (also in 1997-98, 2003-04 and was 4-0 in 2005-06). It will attempt to go 4-0 for just the third time in 22 seasons against Charlotte on Thursday (2005-06 and 1994-95). The 1985-86 season is the last time ASU started 5-0.

THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD NOTE LAST YEAR, BUT WE MISSED IT, BUT IT IS STILL SOLID: ASU became just the second team in the 30-year history of the Pac-10 to lose at least 20 games one year (ASU was 8-22 in 2006-07) and then win at least 20 the next season (ASU was 21-13 in 2007-08). Only California in 1988-89 can match the feat, as it was 9-20 in 1987-88 and 20-13 in 1988-89. Miami (Fla.) also notched the feat last year, going 22-10 after going 12-20 in 2006-07, the first time in the ACC's 55 seasons that has happened. Texas A&M is the only team to do it in the 12-year history of the Big 12 , as it was 7-21 in 2003-04 and went 21-10 in 2004-05. Among the other major conferences, this manufactured note has never happened in the Big East (28 seasons), Big Ten (103 seasons) or the SEC (76 seasons).

USA TODAY #15 PRESEASON RANKING NOTE: ASU is 15th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll (announced Oct. 30). USA Today started the poll in 1991-92 and that is the only year ASU has been in the preseason top 25, when it was No. 22.

AP PRESEASON RANKING NOTE: The Associated Press ranked ASU 15th in its preseason poll (Oct. 31), its first preseason AP ranking since 1991-92 (24th), the second-highest preseason ranking in school history (1963-64 team was sixth), and fourth time overall (other time was 18th in 1975-76). Last year, for the first time since the final poll of 1994-95 (March 13) ASU grabbed a spot in the Associated Press rankings, as it was No. 22 (No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' poll) on Jan. 14. Coach Sendek had the Sun Devils in the rankings in his second year, two years prior to his rebuilding effort at NC State that resulted in five straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2002-06).

POPULAR ON THE TUBE: According to Nielsen Media Research, ASU¹s ratings in 2007-08 on FSN Arizona enjoyed an increase of 196% over its average rating for the previous season. The 15 Sun Devil games on FSN AZ averaged a 1.5 rating/3 share in Phoenix. That figure means that an average of 27,039 households in the Valley were tuning into a game. In 2006-07, the Sun Devils averaged a 0.5 rating. A rating is the percentage of all television households in a market, while the share is the percentage of those television households that actually have their sets on during the particular time. One ratings point equal 18.026 households in the Phoenix market.

GLASSER AT THE POINT: Derek Glasser made 58-of-69 (.841) free throws in 2007-08 and is 105-of-128 (.820) in his 67-game career. Glasser had 69 assists and 32 turnovers in Pac-10 play last year, a 2.16 ratio that was second in the league. He also has 245 career asists, more than halfway to the ASU career record of 454 set by Bobby Thompson from 1983-87.

COACHING TREE: Herb Sendek now has eight former assistants who are D-I head coaches as 12-year sidekick Mark Phelps earned the Drake top spot last spring after serving for 10 years on Coach Sendek's staff at NC State and for two years at ASU. Former NC State sidekick also John Groce earned the Ohio University position. The others are Jim Christian, formerly at Kent State and now at TCU (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Charlie Coles at Miami of Ohio (Miami assistant from 1994-96), Larry Hunter at Western Carolina (NC State assistant from 2001-05), Ron Hunter of IUPUI (Miami assistant from 1993-94), Ohio State's Thad Matta (Miami assistant in 1994-95) and Xavier's Sean Miller (assistant at both Miami from 1994-96 and at NC State from 1996-2000). Coles, Miller and Matta all led their teams to the 2007 NCAA Tournament, then last year Christian led Kent State to the NCAAs, Miller led Xavier to the Elite Eight and Matta's Buckeye squad won the NIT a year after going to the Final Four.

LAST BIG-TIME SHOWING IN EARLY SEASON TOURNEY: ASU last made a huge impact nationally in a November tournament in the 1994 Maui Invitational, when it won the tournament with wins over Texas A&M, #13 Michigan and #7 Maryland. Just how big of an impact did winning the Maui Invitational make in 1994 for Bill Frieder's squad? ASU went from being not ranked in the Nov. 21 Associated Press poll to No. 12 on Nov. 28, tied for the fourth-biggest jump in AP Top-25 history, and at the time it was the second-highest leap for an unranked team.

4th, Kansas, Preseason to Nov. 27, 1989
8th, Arizona, Preseason to Nov. 20, 2001
10th, Notre Dame, Dec. 3 to Dec. 10, 2002
12th, North Carolina, Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, 2003
12th, Duke, Nov. 20 to Nov. 27, 1995
12th, Arizona State, Nov. 21 to Nov. 28, 1994

MANY WINS, MANY PLACES: When it comes time to play away from Tempe, Herb Sendek has a good map. In his career, Coach Sendek now has won 283 games in 24 states, plus two wins in Puerto Rico and one in Washington D.C. North Carolina (153), Ohio (51) and Arizona (23) lead the way as he has been head coach in each state, and he also has posted wins in Florida, (seven), Michigan (six), South Carolina and Virginia (five each), California (four), Georgia and Indiana (four each), Massachusetts (three), Hawaii, Texas and Maryland (two each). One-win states are Alabama, Utah, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Nevada, Kentucky, Illinois, Washington and Oregon.

THIEF: James Harden set the Pac-10 tournament record with seven steals against USC (March 13). It is the most steals by a Sun Devil since Eddie House had seven vs. Kansas State on Nov. 24, 1998, in the Maui Invitational. Harden's 73 steals tied for fourth-best in school history and was just three shy of the ASU record of 76 set by Fat Lever in 1981-82. He is averaging 3.2 steals in in his past eight contests dating to last year.

SLICK RICK (RIHARDS): Rihards Kuksiks averaged 26.6 minutes and 8.7 points in the final 12 games last year and made 25 three pointers, and then posted 12 points and four three-pointers in the season opener vs. MVSU on Nov. 14 and 10 points and two big three-pointers in the win at San Diego State on Nov. 18. He had 15 points in the win over seventh-ranked Stanford on Feb. 14, 15 at Washington on Feb. 23 and 10 in March 1 win vs. USC. He has 128 points in his past 15 games (8.5 ppg.) dating to last year after scoring 42 in the first 22 games.

AT HOME: ASU is 17-5 at home in the past two seasons, as it won 15 home games for first time in the 32-year history of Wells Fargo Arena last year. It is was15-5 with wins over NCAA Tournament teams Arizona, Xavier, Stanford, USC, Oregon and Coppin State. ASU previously won 14 home games in 1974-75 (14-0), 1979-80 (14-3), 1980-81 (14-1), 1990-91 (14-4), 1994-95 (14-3), 1997-98 (14-4), and 1999-2000 (14-3).

DON'T COUNT THEM OUT: ASU trailed San Diego State 15-2 at the 12:46 mark but outscored the Aztecs 57-37 to win. The comeback is nothing new. The Sun Devils came back from double-digit deficits in two big wins in 2007-08, as it put the brakes on a five-game losing skid in dramatic fashion on Feb. 10 in Tucson, falling behind 22-6 but coming back to take a 13-point second-half lead and winning 59-54 to sweep Arizona for the first time since 1994-95 (and notch first win in Tucson since March 11, 1995). On Feb. 14 against seventh-ranked Stanford, ASU was down by 14 in the second half and by seven with 1:49 left before a rally put the game into overtime as ASU won 72-68. On Feb. 16 against Cal, ASU made seven three-pointers in the final 1:11 to chop an 11-point deficit to three before falling 76-73.

HITTING FREEBIES: ASU is shot .739 from the free throw line last year, the fifth-best mark in ASU history and second-best in past 21 seasons. In his 10 seasons at NC State, Coach Sendek's teams led the ACC four times in FT percentage (including three straight seasons, 2002-04). In 2004 NC State led the nation and set the ACC record by shooting .799 from the charity stripe. While at NC State, his squads shot 71.3 percent, as his worst team was his first year (1996-97/.649). One good note on his 2003-04 NC State team is in the past nine seasons, that squad's .799 FT percentage is tied for the best in the NCAA with St. Joseph in 2005-06.

TURNAROUND: ASU¹s 13-game turnaround in wins (ASU was 8-22 overall in 2006-07) was tied for the best turnaround in the nation last year with UNC-Wilmington, who went 7-22 in 2006-07 and was 20-13 last year.

YOU READ THIS BEFORE: The Sun Devils had five wins over teams in the top 50 of the RPI. ASU (5-7) beat #9 Xavier, #14 Stanford, had two wins over #37 Arizona and beat No. #28 USC on March 1. Other Pac-10 records (prior to NCAA and NIT) vs. the top-50 include UCLA (11-2), Stanford (7-4), Arizona (5-8), WSU (4-7), USC (4-8), Oregon (4-9), Cal (2-10) and UW (2-10).

HARDEN ON DEFENSE/OFFENSE: James Harden became just the fifth freshman to lead the Pac-10 in steals. The others are Jason Kidd of Cal (3.8 spg/1993), Baron Davis of UCLA (2.4 spg/1998) and USC's Errick Craven (2.1 spg/2002) and Gabe Pruitt (1.9 spg/2005). He also had 19 blocks, seventh on the ASU freshmen list. His 73 steals is fifth-best in Pac-10 history for a freshman. When you compare the points with the all-time freshman steals leaders, Harden is the first freshmen in league history with 70 steals and a 17.0 points per game average.

THE HEAD COACH: Herb Sendek is in his 16th season as a head coach and has averaged 18.7 wins per season. He led the NC State Wolfpack to five straight NCAA appearances from 2002-06 and is now 286-193 (.597) in 16 seasons and was 191-132 (.591) at NC State. The 45-year-old (born Feb. 22, 1963) Pittsburgh, Pa., native is the third-youngest coach in the Pac-10. Only Duke posted more ACC wins (regular season and ACC Tournament) than NC State's 53 victories from 2002-2006. Another overlooked note is his 10-year stay at NC State. To compare it to the Pac-10, since the league expanded to 10 teams in 1978-79, only five coaches have coached at their schools for at least 10 years: Lute Olson (24 at Arizona), Ralph Miller (19 at Oregon State), Mike Montgomery (18 at Stanford), Ben Braun (12 at California) and Ernie Kent (12 at Oregon).