NCAA Tournament - Stay Away From This 7/10
Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: Midwest Region – No. 7 Texas vs. No. 10 Arizona State

- 60-Second Video Analysis On Each Team

Line: Texas -2
Why To Pick Arizona State: When the Sun Devils have their focus, and they decide to play, they could be an interesting sleeper with great three point shooting ability and a nice interior precense defensively. Texas doesn't force enough turnovers and doesn't pressure the backcourt enough – ASU should be able to score without a problem, while the Longhorns don't have the outside ability to bomb their way into the game.
Why To Pick Texas: Great on the boards, Texas is tremendous at coming up with one-and-dones defensively. ASU might block shots, but it's not tough enough on the glass and not disruptive enough in the backcourt. Yeah, ASU can alter shots, but the long Longhorns are better at it.
The Pick: Arizona State 77-73. Does Texas have enough offensive pop? It doesn't create points off of turnovers and there's nothing coming from three. The Sun Devils will hit a few late threes to get back in the game, and missed Texas free throws will be costly.

Texas Longhorns
Head coach: Rick Barnes Record: 23-10 Conference: Big 12

What You Need To Know: The Longhorns live up to their name, using their length to rattle opponents on the defensive end and to control the glass. Forward Jonathan Holmes is a man in the paint, tough to stop when he sets up on the low block. He isn't afraid to battle with anyone inside, and he has the range to stretch the floor a bit as well. Guard Isaiah Taylor provides an outside presence and is a rudder for the Longhorns' offense. He's a solid passer who also is disruptive as a defender. Forward Cameron Ridley is a quality shot blocker who also hits the boards hard, and his strength allows him to power through contact. Texas can be streaky on offense, and when the O isn't shooting well, there's trouble.
Strengths: Rebounding, Blocked Shots, Field Goal Percentage Defense
Weaknesses: Steals, Three Point Shooting, Free Throws
How Far Will They Go?: Even if the Longhorns can get by Arizona State, it's going to be a rocky day against Michigan. If they can load up on the boards, they have a chance to advance, but there isn't enough offense to go far.

Arizona State Sun Devils
Head coach: Herb Sendek Record: 21-11 Conference: Pac-12

What You Need To Know: The picture of consistency this season, the Sun Devils can also be wickedly competitive when they play with intensity on both ends of the floor. They knocked off Marquette, Arizona and Stanford earlier this year, showing off the versatility to make them a tough out. Guard Jahaii Carson is great off the dribble, and he uses the threat of a step-back three-pointer to keep his opponents on their heels. He's quick, but he's also is unselfish and can find teammates in the drive-and-kick game. Forward Jermaine Marshall can score inside and out, and he can get to the free-throw line almost at will. Forward Jordan Bachynski is a presence in the paint, but he can be a bit foul prone and makes some bad decisions. Focus is everything for Herb Sendek's squad, and his players need to bring it in the tournament to avoid being an early upset victim.
Strengths: Blocked Shots, Three Point Shooting, Scoring
Weaknesses: Rebounding, Steals, Free Throw Shooting
How Far Will They Go?: They can get hot for a few games. If the three pointers are coming, and if Jermaine Marshall can get hot, they can slip past Texas and shock Michigan to get into the Sweet 16, but they won't. The midseason Sun Devils would be dangerous, but they've died over the last month.