Sun Devils reach men's hoops rankings for first time since 1994-1995 season

<p> The Arizona State Sun Devils are ranked No. 22 in this week's Associated Press poll and No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches' poll, its first ranking since the 1994-1995 season. ASU finished 16th in the final AP poll that season (prior to NCAA Tournament) and was 13th in the final USA Today poll.</p><separator></separator><p>Here are some additonal notes and numbers for the Sun Devils, who play at California on Thursday (Jan. 17) at 7:30 p.m. PT and then at Stanford on Saturday (Jan. 19) at 7 p.m. PT. Thursday's game is not televised and will be broadcast on KKNT 960 AM, but Saturday's game is on FSN Arizona (KTAR 620 AM). A full release will be posted Tuesday afternoon.</p><separator></separator><p>*ASU is 3-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1987-88 (4-0) and for just the third time in its 30 years of Pac-10 play (other time was 6-0 in 1979-80) and is on a nine-game win streak for the first time since a nine-game streak from Nov. 27-Dec. 29, 2004. The two nine-game streaks are the best in the past 26 seasons (1981-82 to present).</p><separator></separator><p>*ASU has defeated three teams in the top 50 of the RPI (Xavier, Oregon and Arizona). ASU held Oregon, who is leading the Pac-10 at 82.3 points per game, to just 54 points. The Sun Devils rank third in the league in points given up at just 56.7 ppg.</p><separator></separator><p>*After starting 6-19 last year, ASU is 15-5 in its past 20 games.</p><separator></separator><p>*ASU is 11-0 at home this year after going 7-11 (.389) last year in Tempe. In its previous four seasons ASU was 9-27 (.250) in Pac-10 home games but is 3-0 this year.</p><separator></separator><p>*Half of ASU's 30 games last year were decided by six points or less, and ASU was 3-12. It is 3-0 in those games this year.</p><separator></separator><p>REAL DEAL<br /> ASU is led by the Pac-10's youngest player, freshman <a href="">J… Harden</a> (turned 18 on Aug. 26), who leads the team in scoring (18.2 ppg./fourth in Pac-10), steals (27) and minutes per game (31.9) and is shooting .549 from the field (eighth in Pac-10), .788 from the free throw line (10th in Pac-10) and .447 from the three-point stripe (ninth in Pac-10). Harden is the first McDonald's All-American to sign with ASU out of high school since 1984 (it was Chris Sandle before you ask). He already has eight 20-point games, including his past four games, as he is averaging 23.3 points, seven boards and 38.8 minutes in three Pac-10 games. He has posted four straight 20-point games, a first by a freshman in ASU history. He is the only Pac-10 player listed in the league's top 10 in all three shooting categories.</p><separator></separator><p>IN THE MIDDLE<br /><a href="… Pendergraph</a> is shooting a league-best .670 from the field and .821 from the free throw line (eighth in the Pac-10). In his past six games he is averaging 18.5 points and 8.2 boards and is 35-of-47 (.745) from the field and 41-of-48 (.854) from the foul line.</p><separator></separator><p>*In 45 games under <a href="">He… Sendek</a>, ASU is giving up just 60.2 points per game.</p><separator></separator><p>*ASU held Oregon (83.4 ppg.), Oregon State (62.9 ppg.) and Arizona (74.6 ppg.) to an average of 55.3 points per game in its first three Pac-10 games.</p><separator></separator><p>*Derek Glasser leads the Pac-1 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 3.35. He has made 27-of-33 (.818) free throws this year and is 62-of-78 (.795) in his career. He has 51 assists and just 10 turnovers in the past nine games.</p><separator></separator><p>*ASU leads the Pac-10 in steals per game at 7.53.</p><separator></separator><p>*ASU is second in the Pac-10 in turnover margin (+3.00) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.26).</p><separator></separator><p>FRESHMEN:<br /> ASU freshmen accounted for 69 of 150 starts in <a href="">He… Sendek's</a> rookie 30-game season. Through 15 games, the numbers have jumped to 110 out of 225 starts in his 45-games. That means in his two years, ASU's has had freshmen make 48.9 percent of the starts.</p><separator></separator><p>EXPECT THIS TO BE A STAPLE AT ASU:<br /> ASU is shooting .758 from the free throw line (235-of-310), which is second in the Pac-10, as <a href="">J… Harden</a> already is 78-of-99 (.788). Each of the six Sun Devils averaging more than 15 minutes are shooting at least 73 percent, and four of them are shooting better than 80 percent.</p><separator></separator><p>QUICK NOTES:<br /> ASU held Pac-10 scoring leader Oregon to 54 points on Jan. 3, UO's fewest points in the past 57 games. Last year ASU fell at No. 13 Oregon 55-51 on Feb. 8, 2007, as the 55 points was a Duck season-low last year...ASU's 72-53 win over on Jan. 5 over Oregon State was its biggest margin of victory in the Pac-10 since a 108-78 win over USC on Feb. 13, 2003...ASU has reached 70-points eight times in 15 games, last year it reached 70 points three times ...James Harden has eight 20-point games.</p><separator></separator><p>NICE CARRY OVER:<br /> ASU won two of its final five last year, beating #22 USC 68-58 on Feb. 18 and then winning 42-41 at Cal March 3 in the regular season finale, matching the best defensive performance in ASU's 522-game Pac-10 history (ASU beat UW 53-41 on Jan. 31, 1991) and the best in a Pac-10 road game. ASU improved throughout last year as in the second half of the Pac-10 season, its scoring margin was less than a three-pointer (-2.5 per game). Although ASU went 8-22 last year and started 6-19, it is 15-5 in its past 20 games.</p><separator></separator><p>&nbsp;</p>