Date: Tuesday, 2/23/21
Tip-Off Time: 6:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: KJR 950 AM/KVI 570
Location: Tempe, Arizona
Betting line: Washington +8
Arizona State Sun Devils 2020-21 Statistics:
Record: 7-11 (4-8)
Points For per Game: 74.8 ppg (72nd)
Points Against per Game: 77.4 ppg (307th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 109.1 (74th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 100.9 (137th)
Strength of Schedule: 40th
Arizona State Key Players:
G- Remy Martin, Sr. 6’0, 175: 20.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.9 apg, 45.0% FG, 35.2% 3pt, 82.1% FT
Martin came into the year as a potential All-American candidate and if you just look at his per game stats you might think that he’s still in the running. But the lack of team success has hurt his case. Still, Martin can hurt from you anywhere on the court as he’s still just an average 3-pt shooter but is hitting 50% of long 2’s and is an elite finisher at the rim. The assist numbers are lower than you’d want for your primary ball handler but Martin also doesn’t turn the ball over much considering how much the ball’s in his hands.
G- Alonzo Verge Jr., Jr. 6’2, 170: 13.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 37.4% FG, 35.7% 3pt, 77.6% FT
Verge Jr. has really improved his playmaking abilities this season as a co-point guard alongside Martin but he’s still not a very efficient scorer. He’s had more points than shot attempts in only 3 of Arizona State’s past 7 games but then again he’s also only had more than 1 turnover once in that time for a 21:4 A:TO ratio.
G- Josh Christopher, Fr. 6’5, 215: 14.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 43.2% FG, 30.5% 3pt, 80.0% FT
Expectations were high for the 5-star recruit and he’s only partially met them. Christopher has missed the last 3 games due to injury and it’s looking doubtful that he’ll return tonight against UW. His athleticism is apparent in his finishing numbers as Christopher shoots 64.5% in the paint at just 6’5 but he is in love with taking jump shots and isn’t making them at a great clip. The defense has been there though as he’s 1st among ASU perimeter players in both steals and blocks per game.
G- Holland Woods, So. 6’1, 180: 5.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.8 apg, 35.4% FG, 31.3% 3pt, 81.8% FT
The Portland State transfer has come in and settled into a supporting role as a backup guard after being the guy up to this point in his career. He’s been about a career 30% 3-pt shooter so his struggles there aren’t surprising but just about everything else has changed about his role. He used to take 66/33 2’s to 3’s and that has now been reversed as he plays almost exclusively off the ball. Unsurprisingly both his assists and turnovers are way down as well.
F- Jalen Graham, So. 6’9, 220: 7.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 61.6% FG, 50.0% FT
Graham is Arizona State’s version of Nate Roberts as he’s a pretty limited offensive player who almost exclusively relies on putbacks and dunks to score. Roberts is a better rebounder but Graham is a legitimate shot blocking threat and has better hands in general.
F- Marcus Bagley, Fr. 6’8, 215: 11.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 39.8% FG, 36.2% 3pt, 71.9% FT
The Sun Devils have really missed the younger brother of Marvin Bagley as he has missed the last 4 games due to injury but could return tonight. His offensive game has looked very like that of Hameir Wright as a freshman as only about 20% of his shots come at the rim despite standing 6’8. He’s 2nd on the team though in 3-point makes and really helps Arizona State space the floor while also serving as their best defensive rebounder.
Arizona State 2020-21 Shot Chart
Husky fans likely feel it’s impossible for there to be another pick for most disappointing team in the conference but Arizona State is certainly the choice from a national perspective. With senior PG Remy Martin returning and a 5-star freshman joining the party the Sun Devils were a popular selection to win the conference in the preseason (my model had them 4th). Instead they are 7-11 and have only one win by double digits and it was against #330 Houston Baptist.
Despite all of the additions that led to optimism it turns out that the biggest offseason move for Arizona State was the loss of Romello White via transfer to Ole Miss (shooting 68% this year in the SEC). This Arizona State team is dangerously thin down low and that has really hurt their defense. The Sun Devils are the only team in the conference that comes close to being as bad at rebounding as the Huskies. ASU is 12th in the conference in offensive rebounding and are 326th nationally in that regard. For once there’s a very real chance that Washington could be expected to win the rebounding battle.
On top of being unable to get a rebound Arizona State hasn’t been able to get stops. They rank 215th or worse nationally in opponent 2pt%, 3pt%, and FT% which is not exactly the sign of a good defense. Part of the problem is that they just can’t stop fouling people. All 6 of the ASU rotation players at 6’5 or taller are averaging least 4 fouls committed for 40 minutes and opponents get 4.5% more points from free throws than the average team. Washington has often struggled to get to the line but Hop has to tell Green, Stevenson, and Tsohonis to really focus on driving to the hoop as much as possible.
You may be wondering since Arizona State can’t rebound, can’t defend, and can’t stop fouling how they’re not as bad as Washington. Well they’re tied in the win column with UW in Pac-12 play (although in 5 fewer games because of COVID cancellations/postponements) so they may not be that much better. But the biggest reason is because of turnovers. The Sun Devils rank 6th in turnover percentage on offense and 59th on defense. The difference between those figures means on average ASU has 7.5% fewer turnovers than their opponent. And since they play at one of the fastest paces in the sport that translates to a +4 advantage on average.
The pace is certainly going to be a thing to watch in this game. These teams play with the 2 fastest tempos in the conference and so we could very easily see a track meet that will inflate the final score totals even if neither team is particularly efficient. If both of Arizona State’s freshmen are out again tonight then I actually think this is a good matchup for the Huskies and they’ve got a great shot. Bagley is the more likely to return and if he comes back at 100% I think Arizona State is going to have just enough available inside to come out on top.
Washington Huskies- 78, Arizona State Sun Devils- 83
Keep up with the game in the comments below. You can also follow me for all your UW Men’s Basketball News and Game Updates @UWDP_maxvroom