There's very little doubt that the 2012-13 version of the Arizona State men's basketball team is better than the version that was marched out on the court during the two previous seasons.
ASU is off to a 9-2 start, and as promised, has played a more entertaining, up-tempo brand of basketball. Herb Sendek's Sun Devils are averaging 75.5 points per game, up from the 61 points per contest they posted a year ago.
With only two games remaining until the beginning of conference play, Sendek does have concerns about his team, with depth being one of them. Only seven players are currently averaging ten or more minutes of playing time. Four of ASU's five starters are averaging more than 30 minutes per game and the Sun Devils are getting only 6.3 points from their bench over the last three contests.
"Moving forward, it would be great to get at least one more guy involved in that rotation," Sendek told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 620 Tuesday. "That's something we'd love to be able to do."
But who will it be? Senior point guard Chris Colvin was the early-season spark plug, averaging 10.8 points off the bench in Arizona State's first four contests. But Colvin's production has tailed off since then; he's averaging just 3.4 points while shooting .307 from the field in the last seven games.
Freshman big man Eric Jacobsen played up to his potential in wins over Sacramento State and Hartford when he averaged 11 points and 7.5 rebounds. But in the last three contests, he's averaging only 2.7 points and 0.7 rebounds.
Free throw shooting has been another issue for the Sun Devils, who are connecting on just 56.8% of their attempts in the last three games.
"What makes it even worse is we're getting to the free throw line -- in attempts, we're sixth in the nation," Sendek said. "We've actually made more free throws than our opponents have attempted but the problem is we're actually 62.9% from the line (for the year) and that's a lot of extra possessions right now that we're not cashing in on."
Arizona State plays its first true road game of the year Saturday at Texas Tech.