The Stanford Cardinals (18-10) will head out to the desert to face off against the Arizona State Sun Devils (15-14) tonight at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, Ariz.
According to a report from the Sports Network, Stanford will play against Arizona State during the final week of the regular season in the Pac-12 Conference. The Cardinals beat out California and Oregon State in back-to-back wins at home last week, but they lost to Oregon 73-70 at Maples Pavilion.
"The Cardinal is 9-7 in conference play as a result, which has it fifth in the standings," Sports Network wrote.
Sports Network reported that the Sun Devils are close behind, noting that Arizona State is tied with the Golden Bears for seventh place. However, they are currently in a two-game slide, losing to both Utah by 83-41 and Colorado (Boulder) last Sunday 87-81.
"Coincidentally, ASU is slated to close out the regular season on Saturday against California in Tempe, so there is certainly something to be gained by playing these last two games leading up to the conference tournament in Las Vegas next week," Sports Network wrote.
According to Erik Pierson of ASUDevils.com, Arizona State apparently forgot to bring their defensive strategy in the last two games, both of which were on the road.
"The Sun Devils allowed 80-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time this season," Pierson wrote. "With only two regular-season games remaining, ASU is looking to generate some momentum heading into next week's Pac-12 tournament, beginning with tonight's matchup against Stanford."
However, Pierson reported that the Sun Devils had been playing "its best basketball of the season," noting that ASU won seven of their last ten games. He elaborated on how Colorado was able to beat them.
"Colorado, one of the worst shooting teams in the Pac-12 this season, had their second-best shooting performance (59.2 percent) since joining the conference four years ago," Pierson wrote. "It was a surprising display of accuracy considering the Buffs had shot below 40 percent in seven straight games prior to Sunday."
Pierson reported that Stanford was once considered a lock to make the NCAA tournament later this month. However, the Cardinals lost five of its last eight games, making that possibility less uncertain.
"With an RPI of 56 (and BPI of 38), Stanford's tournament résumé needs some work," Pierson wrote. "At a minimum, the Cardinal will likely need to sweep the Arizona-schools and have a strong showing in the Pac-12 tourney if they expect to go dancing."
According to Pierson, the key to victory for Stanford would be to form a "determined and focused team" today. If they can do that against ASU, they could be a formidable force in the college basketball tournament.
"Stanford is a matchup nightmare for opponents," Pierson wrote. "The Cardinal's frontcourt is long and surprising agile, while their backcourt is quick and explosive. On offense Stanford likes to spread the floor on and take advantage of their many shooters. They shoot 39 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks second in the Pac-12."
However, Pierson saw an opportunity where ASU can win the game. He reported that Stanford's frontcourt "has a reputation of being soft."
"Don't be surprised to see ASU give a more inspired effort on the defensive end," Pierson wrote. "The duo of Jacobsen and Goodman should be able to out-muscle the Cardinal post players (if they are able to stay out of foul trouble). ASU is rebounding the ball much better in recent weeks, which should neutralize Stanford's normal advantage on the glass."
Tonight's game will air at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT on Fox Sports 1. Although a cable/satellite subscription is required, online viewers can stream the game through various devices on Fox Sports Go.