February 16, 2012 | 10:06am
The struggling Arizona State's men's basketball team will be in the Great Northwest this weekend, and a win tonight over Washington or against Washington State on Saturday would qualify as a huge surprise.
Tonight's game in Seattle, which starts at 9 p.m. our time and will be aired on Channel 34 (KTAR 620-AM on your radio dial), promises to be an uphill climb for head coach Herb Sendek's Sun Devils, as the locals face an athletic team currently tied for first place in the Pac-12.
ASU's Trent Lockett is back in the starting line-up, which is a good thing for his beleaguered (8-17 overall, 4-9 in league play) squad, though his bad ankle seemed quite a ways from being fully healed during last weekend's play in Tempe against Utah and Colorado.
But without Lockett, the Devils' leader on and off the court, ASU stands little chance of beating the Huskies on the road. With Lockett, well, at least they've got a puncher's chance--but only if they play their best game of the season.
On Saturday, ASU will be up in little Pullman for a game against Washington State, a team that is in the middle of what is a pretty mediocre conference this year--certainly not what the powerhouse it was, say, five years ago.
The trip to Washington is probably the most difficult in the Pac-12.
Pullman is in the middle of nowhere, and the Cougars always play tough at home (this year is no exception). Arizona plays State tonight at 7 p.m. (also on Channel 34), and that one will be a bear for the Wildcats to take.
If Arizona does get the win, it's game on Saturday against Washington will be one of the big ones for both teams as the regular seasons winds down and March Madness commences.