Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Arizona Wildcats Preview
Where: McKale Center – Tucson, AZ
When: Thursday, January 12, 2017 – 8:00 PM ET
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Betting on the Arizona State Sun Devils (9-8, 2-2 PAC-12)
Just by seeing the 9-8 record, one can already tell that this is a team that’s being inconsistent… and they really are. They’ve been alternating wins and losses and haven’t been able to put up a three-game winning streak this season.
Among the Sun Devils’ problems could be the imbalance of their play on the two ends of the floor. Offensively, they are quite decent – ranking 35th in the nation in points (82 PPG) and 43rd in offensive efficiency (as per Kenpom.com).
Additionally, the starting five is also providing solid numbers. Guards Torian Graham, Tra Holder, and Shannon Evans are all netting 16 or more PPG, while also combining for seven threes per contest. Their athletic, hard-nosed forward, Obinna Oleka, is averaging a double-double (13.1 PPG, 10.4 RPG).
Over at the defense, Kenpom is placing them way down to the 293rd spot, which is really fair. They give up the 13th-most points (82.4 PPG), ninth-most threes (9.3 per game), sixth-highest assists (18.1 APG), and allow the 26th-highest field goal percentage (47.5 percent) in the nation. For a big-named school in athletics, those stats are atrocious.
The Sun Devils are 1-3 SU and ATS against the Wildcats in their last four matchups.
Betting on the Arizona Wildcats (15-2, 4-0 PAC-12)
The Wildcats will be entering the matchup riding a nine-game winning streak with an average winning margin of 16.6 points. In that stretch, their defense is arguably playing a bigger role than the offense, as they are allowing opponents to shoot just 37 percent from the field.
Along with holding foes to awful shooting percentages, they are also giving up the 12th-fewest points in the country (60.8 PPG). Through the consistent solid D, the team currently places 13th overall in Kenpom’s defensive efficiency rankings.
Their offense, meanwhile, is very balanced and effective. Expect the towering presence of seven-footer Lauri Markannen to continue leading the Wildcats’ charge. He’s showcasing his Dirk Nowitzki-like style of play really well, and currently leads the team in points (15.9), rebounds (7.4), and threes (2.1) per game, while also shooting over 50 percent in six of his last nine outings.
The Finnish’s co-freshman teammates – Rawle Alkins (12.3 PPG) and Kobi Simmons (11.7 PPG) – should be able to help him, along with the team’s veteran, junior Dusan Ristic (11.9 PPG, 6 RPG, 56-percent shooting).
The Wildcats (-16.5) win, 88-79, extend their streak to 10.
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