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Arizona State Game Preview & How to Watch

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Washington returns home looking for a much needed W against the Sun Devils

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

How to Watch (and bet)

Date: Thursday, 2/10/22

Tip-Off Time: 8:00 pm PT

TV: FS1

Streaming: Foxsportsgo.com

Radio: Huskies Gameday App & KJR 950 AM

Location: Seattle, Washington

DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies -1.5

Arizona State Sun Devils 2021-22 Statistics:

Record: 7-14 (3-8)

Points For per Game: 64.2 ppg (307th)

Points Against per Game: 70.0 ppg (186th)

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 99.4 (246th)

Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 96.5 (62nd)

Strength of Schedule: 2nd

Arizona State Key Players:

G- Marreon Jackson, Sr. 6’1, 190: 9.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 30.7% FG, 23.9% 3pt, 84.3% FT

The Sun Devils thought they were getting an all-conference caliber player in Jackson coming from Ohio where he averaged 18/6/6 on 38% career 3-pt shooting for the Bobcats. Instead he has struggled to adapt to the Pac-12 and his non-free throw shooting numbers have tanked. At least Jackson is still a solid addition on the defensive end where he’s 8th in the conference in steal percentage.

G- DJ Horne, So. 6’1, 175: 13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 40.7% FG, 38.3% 3pt, 100.0% FT

The transition has been easier for Horne coming over from Illinois State. He’s averaging 2 points per game fewer than he did as the guy there but he’s still shooting nearly 40% from deep and has made 22/22 shots from the foul line. Horne has a little bit of versatility to his game but primarily against the Huskies he’ll be looking to bomb away from deep.

G- Jay Heath, So. 6’3. 195: 10.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.4 apg, 38.0% FG, 41.5% 3pt, 86.8% FT

The shooting for Heath has translated from Boston College but he has fared dramatically worse when driving the ball to the basket. He’s been forced to play small forward in the Sun Devils’ 3 guard lineup but isn’t much of a passer or rebounder so he has struggled to make a significant impact compared to when he averaging 14.5 points per game in the ACC.

F- Kimani Lawrence, Sr. 6’6. 205: 10.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.5 apg, 50.8% FG, 50.9% FT

After coming in as a highly rated 4-star recruit Lawrence is finally seeing the most playing time of his career as a 5th year senior. He’s finally given up being an inside/outside small forward and embraced his role as a bully ball undersized 4. He’s seeing a career high offensive rebounding rate and already has attempted more 2-point shots than in any other single year of his career with one month left in the season.

F- Jalen Graham, Sr. 6'9, 220: 8.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 46.7% FG, 48.9% FT

I didn’t include it in the stat line above but Graham is 0/12 on 3-point attempts this season. Hameir Wright is so jealous. Graham has seen both his block percentage and offensive rebounding rates drop each of the last 2 seasons after an impressive campaign as the reserve center for ASU. The Sun Devils have been running their offense through graham and he is somehow 4th in % of shots taken and 7th in assist rate in Pac-12 play as a 6’9 center.

The Outlook

To say this season has been a disappointing one for Bobby Hurley and his Sun Devils is an understatement. Husky fans can likely see a bunch of parallels between what has happened to ASU and last season’s Washington team. Marcus Bagley surprisingly decided to come back and was a lock to be ASU’s best player. Instead, he has played just 2.5 games after suffering a knee injury and has yet to return to the court.

Despite that major loss there were still high expectations. The guard transfer trio of Jackson, Horne, and Heath all averaged at least 14 points per game on their previous teams and would bring in veteran leadership. The forward duo of Graham and Lawrence each (bizarrely) averaged exactly 8.1 points and 5.0 rebounds the previous year so there was returning size as well.

Instead, the transfer trio have seen their cumulative scoring averages drop from a combined 47 points per game to 32 on decreased efficiency. Lawrence has stepped up a little bit as a senior but Graham has had plenty of struggles and hasn’t been able to protect the rim. Role players Luther Muhammad and Alonzo Gaffney have been good on the defensive end but each is shooting 26% or below on 3-point attempts.

Part of that is due to the schedule. Per KenPom, it has been the 2nd toughest in the nation so far. Washington is 0-3 against top-79 teams at KenPom right now. Arizona State is 3-10 which is the biggest reason why the Sun Devils have a dramatically worse record than the Huskies.

Both teams have putrid at times on offense and pretty solid on defense. ASU is one of only 2 power conference teams to have a lower effective field goal percentage on offense than the Huskies as they’re shooting 45% on 2’s (325th) and 28.9% on 3’s (337th). That has been particularly pronounced in conference play. The gap between ASU’s Pac-12 offensive efficiency in last place and 11th place Cal is bigger than the gap between 1st place Arizona and 5th place Wazzu.

The Sun Devils in conference play rank last on offense in the aforementioned eFG%, offensive rebounding rate, free throw rate, 3-point%, and FT%. Just about the only thing they’re not terrible at is taking care of the ball which just happens to be UW’s biggest strength on defense.

On the other end they’ve been a respectable 6th in Pac-12 play in defensive efficiency. The biggest struggles have come inside where somehow teams are rebounding better against them than UW and the Sun Devils are last by a wide margin in free throw rate. Expect Terrell Brown Jr. to drive the ball and get fouled repeatedly against this ASU squad and if he doesn’t get the call then Nate Roberts should end up with 3+ offensive put back chances.

As bad as ASU has been at times this season I think their peak performance is better than what the Dawgs can muster. The Sun Devils are coming off a triple OT win over UCLA and respectable losses to USC and Arizona. The opponent-adjusted metrics have these 2 teams as nearly identical despite their records. Daejon Davis’ offense this year has been inconsistent but he has been tremendous on defense and if he’s absent as expected tonight then it is a huge loss for UW.

This game is a huge one for the Huskies. The schedule starting on Saturday is an absolute gauntlet that will determine how much of UW’s success in conference play is because of their strength of schedule. After tonight the next 7 games include #3 Arizona, #32 USC, #52 Oregon, and each of #12 UCLA and #30 Wazzu twice. That’s 7 straight games against top-55 teams at KenPom after having played only 3 such games all season to this point. I’ll give the Huskies the slight edge in an incredibly ugly game but if they can’t get it done then the team and the fans might be in for a rough next month.

Prediction

Washington Huskies- 60, Arizona State Sun Devils- 57