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#25 Arizona State Game Preview/Open Thread

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Can the Huskies get a statement home win against a ranked team tonight?

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Essentials

Date: Thursday, 2/1/18

Tip-Off Time: 8:00pm PST

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: KOMO 1000

Location: Seattle, Washington

Betting Line: Arizona State -3

Arizona State 2017-18 Statistics:

Record: 16-5 (4-5)

Points For per Game: 85.9 ppg (9th)

Points Against per Game: 74.6 ppg (218th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 119.8 (8th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 102 (125th)

Strength of Schedule: 67th

Arizona State Key Players:

C- Romello White, Fr. 6’8, 235: 11.8ppg, 7.3rpg, 0.8bpg, 62.9% FG, 58.3% FT

White and DeQuon Lake split time at center and both are physical dunkers that struggle further out than a few feet from the rim. Lake is a better shot blocker but White is better at drawing fouls. Both will be challenged if they get the ball at the free throw line to shoot or pass.

F- Mickey Mitchell, So. 6’7, 225: 6.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.9apg, 49.2% FG, 65.6% FT, 36.4% 3pt

Mitchell made his season debut in the win at Kansas after gaining eligibility transferring mid-year last season from Ohio State. He’s given them more size and rebounding but has struggled with turnovers.

F- Kodi Justice, Sr. 6’5, 190: 13.0ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.8apg, 44.8% FG, 73.8% FT, 37.9% 3pt

Justice is the kind of guy who could potentially wreck the UW zone as the 3rd priority on the outside who’s still an exceptional shooter. He’s just 4/17 from outside in his last 3 games so hopefully for the Huskies the slump continues.

G- Shannon Evans, Sr. 6’1, 172: 16.7ppg, 3.8rpg, 4.2apg, 38.8% FG, 84.2% FT, 39% 3pt

G- Tra Holder, Sr. 6’1, 180: 19.3ppg, 5.9rpg, 3.9apg, 42.1% FG, 84.7% FT, 40% 3pt

Evans and Holder are very similar complementary players that are lighting it up in their senior seasons. All of their rate and percentage numbers are very similar with the biggest difference being that Holder prefers to drive and get fouled while Evans is more of a 3-point specialist. But both players can function in either role and both would be the best point guard on the team were they on the Washington roster.

The Outlook

It’s so tough to evaluate this Arizona State team. They were the last undefeated team in the country including wins over Kansas and Xavier but then have dropped 5 of 9 in a very bad Pac-12. Washington would be favored over most 4-5 conference squads but there’s the concern that the Sun Devils return to their December form just in time to face the Huskies.

Bobby Hurley’s team has had an offensive bent for two years now only this year’s team took a jump on both ends of the floor. They’re still 8th nationally in offensive efficiency and yet just 6th in the conference in Pac-12 play. The individual shooting percentages are down across the board.

When things are humming this is a lineup with 4 guards playing around one center that constantly drives and kicks until the defense leaves someone open. If White or Lake get the ball within a few feet of the basket it’s a dunk. If someone on the perimeter comes to help then they kick out to a plus shooter. That might not work against the zone. UW has been phenomenal at preventing the outside shot and forcing a team to work their offense at the foul line while ASU prefers to be at the rim or beyond the arc. We’ll see if they can adjust.

The Sun Devils are both undersized and thin when it comes to the defense. Freshman Remy Martin is a fantastic one-on-one defender and I hope when he’s in the game that he stays on David Crisp and the Huskies adjust by letting Jaylen Nowell run the offense. The Sun Devils only play 8 players and only trust 7. Meanwhile Washington will have a size advantage at every position except when Crisp is on the floor. They need to continually drive the ball and get ASU in foul trouble.

This game is the start of UW’s toughest stretch on the year. They have 5 straight games that are either Tier 1 or 2 for the selection committee and then end the year with only 1 such game in the last 5. If Washington can go 3-2 or better then they’ll be on the right side of the bubble and only needing to avoid losing in an upset the rest of the way. That puts a lot of pressure on this game with Arizona coming into town on Saturday. I really believe that UW’s zone excels against smaller shooting dependent teams like ASU (and I’m not the only one) and the Huskies can pull this one out.


Washington Huskies- 81, Arizona State Sun Devils- 80


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