Arizona State, which hosts the Colorado Buffaloes Thursday night, has been a difficult team to figure out during the first half of the college basketball schedule.
Unfortunately for the Buffs, though, the Sun Devils are showing signs of rounding into form.
Arizona State didn't skimp on its nonconference schedule, and in turn took its lumps along the way. The Sun Devils were blasted by 46 points against Kentucky and 33 points against Purdue while also suffering an 11-point loss against a Creighton team now ranked 10th. The Sun Devils went on the road to defeat a solid San Diego State squad yet lost at home against New Mexico State.
However, a Buffs defense that on Sunday allowed Utah to connect at a .525 clip from the field — the best mark by a CU opponent in almost two full years — will be challenged by an Arizona State attack that is averaging 82.3 points a game and has eclipsed 90 points in two of its previous three games.
The Sun Devils opened Pac-12 play with a win 98-93 win at Stanford before getting held to 65 points in a loss at Cal Sunday.
"We've just really got to get better at all aspects of the game," CU senior forward Wesley Gordon said. "We just have to try to defend, really. That's our main goal."
It was preseason favorite Oregon that turned in the most impressive opening weekend in league play, a prospect that seemed like a given a few months ago yet became more murky as a series of injuries kept the Ducks from utilizing their optimal rotation.
With all the pieces now in place, the defending regular season and Pac-12 tournament champions swept then-No. 2 UCLA and No. 22 USC at home, sparking a jump from No. 21 to No. 15 in this week's AP top 25.
The UCLA victory was an instant classic, with a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Dillon Brooks lifting the Ducks to victory. On Monday, Brooks was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after going 18-for-30 from the floor and averaging 25.5 points in Oregon's two wins.
"It was a high-level game," CU coach Tad Boyle said of the UCLA-Oregon showdown. "Both teams are extremely talented and they make scoring look easy. I wasn't sure about UCLA's depth, but I thought their bench played really well. And Oregon has really quality depth."
When Utah guard Sedrick Barefield erupted for 35 points in just his second game with the Utes two weeks ago against San Francisco, coach Larry Krystkowiak cited the zero assists and five turnovers Barefield posted in that game as an area that needed improvement. Barefield went 2-for-8 with nine points against CU on Sunday, but he committed just two turnovers in 28 minutes while dishing out a career-high eight assists...Arizona guard Allonzo Trier still has yet to play this season due to an unspecified NCAA suspension. The No. 17-ranked Wildcats swept Cal and Stanford on the road over the weekend and host Utah on Thursday before hosting the Buffs on Saturday.