How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Thursday, 1/11/23
Tip-Off Time: 8:00 pm PT
Radio: Huskies Gameday App, Sports Radio KJR
Location: Seattle, Washington
Betting Line: Washington Huskies -7
Arizona State Sun Devils 2023-24 Statistics:
Record: 10-5 (4-0)
Points For per Game: 69.4 ppg (247th)
Points Against per Game: 70.0 ppg (114th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 103.4 (203rd)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 95.9 (29th)
Strength of Schedule: 18th
Arizona State Key Players:
G- Frankie Collins, Jr. 6’1, 185: 13.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.5 apg, 45.3% FG, 32.7% 3pt, 61.1% FT
Last year Collins was known as a pass first guard but he has become both a better scorer and a better defender. He is 8th in the country in steal rate and is averaging a Thybulle-esque 3.1 per game. Sahvir Wheeler has to be alert at all times when Collins is guarding him. He’s not a great outside shooter but has made 40% so far in conference play which will be a huge boon for ASU if it keeps up.
G- Adam Miller, Jr. 6’3, 190: 13.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.5 apg, 36.5% FG, 35.9% 3pt, 82.6% FT
The Sun Devils are one of the teams that have benefitted from the RaeQuan Battle court injunction allowing 2nd transfers to play right away. Miller has previously played at both Illinois and LSU and was expected to be a key cog for ASU. They’re now 4-2 with him in the lineup and he provides another credible outside shooting threat even if Miller doesn’t do much else other than take 3’s and sink free throws.
G- Jamiya Neal, Sr. 6’6, 185: 10.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 40.3% FG, 25.0% 3pt, 67.7% FT
Neal is essentially the guard version of Hameir Wright. He has taken nearly half of his shots from 3-point range for his career and makes about 1⁄4 of them. His block and steal numbers are fine but not as good as you’d hope for someone who misses so many 3’s. The key will be if he can continue to drive the ball and if he can still get defensive rebounds at an above average rate.
G- Jose Perez, Sr. 6’5, 220: 12.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, 44.0% FG, 44.4% 3pt, 66.0% FT
It has been a wild road for Perez who played 2 years at Gardner-Webb, 2 at Manhattan, was never ruled eligible at West Virginia and now is in Tempe. The last time we saw him, in 2022, he was an absolutely ball dominant scorer at a mid-major who was at his best driving the ball to the rim and was a poor outside shooter. He has reigned things back in to fit on this team in terms of shot attempts but is still 13th in the country at free throw rate. He’s actually making a great percentage of 3’s for the first time ever but takes only about one per game.
F-Alonzao Gaffney, Sr. 6’9, 200: 7.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 35.8% FG, 21.9% 3pt, 53.8% FT
Based on Gaffney’s body type he is more of a lanky power forward but is asked to play center as the best big man on the roster. Almost 60% of his shots this year have come from 3-point range and he’s just flat out not a good shooter so he’s not a lot of a scoring threat. He’s also a very poor rebounder for someone who plays primarily at center but he’s a solid shot blocker.
It has been a very up and down season so far for ASU. Since a blowout loss to a good BYU team the Sun Devils have gone 4-game winning streak, 3-game losing streak, 4-game winning streak. Of their 5 losses, 4 of them have come to top-55 KenPom teams away from home and their only loss to a bad team (San Diego) was at least a true road game. They just finished sweeping Utah and Colorado at home and now sit in first place in the standings.
Arizona State’s success to this point has all come on the defensive end. That might be a little surprising given the Sun Devils prefer to play a 4-guard lineup with an undersized big at center. That hurts them on the defensive glass but they still have enough length on the perimeter to create havoc and challenge three-point shots. They’re in the top-50 nationally in both steal rate (led by Frankie Collins’ 3+ per game) and three-point defense.
The other big factor for ASU is despite lacking a rim protector, they just don’t really foul. Opponents only get 15% of their points against ASU from the free throw line which is one of the lowest marks in the country. That could be a problem for a Washington team who often relies on getting to the line to keep their offense afloat when things go wrong in the half-court for multiple possessions.
It has been a bit more of a struggle for Arizona State to score. They are 354th out of 362 D1 teams in offensive rebounding rate so they almost never create extra possessions. Boxing out isn’t UW’s strong suit so if the Dawgs can finally win the battle of the boards it will be an unusual advantage.
Their biggest issue though is they just aren’t vey good at scoring. They’ve played a tough schedule which plays into it but they rank 225th or worse in 2-pt, 3-pt, and FT percentage. ASU gets to the line a ton but is 350th at making their foul shots which can be a liability if the game is close in the final minutes. Adam Miller’s addition to the lineup last month has helped provide floor spacing but no one on their roster has made more than 18 three-pointers this season through 15 games. Even Washington who isn’t a great shooting team has had 2 over that mark with another at 17.
Arizona State occasionally plays 7-footer Shawn Phillips but he’s used as their #3 big and plays about 10 minutes per game. Otherwise they prefer to go with smaller but athletic centers who step out to shoot the ball even if they don’t make a very good percentage. This could be a game for Wilhelm Breidenbach to play heavy minutes who might have a better chance on the perimeter and is a much better scoring option than Braxton Meah right now.
This is a game that Washington should win, even without Franck Kepnang. Arizona State has prevailed by 3 or fewer points in 4 of their last 5 wins and in 5 of their 10 wins overall. This isn’t a team that really blows other squads out. Washington should be in it until the very end especially since ASU plays good defense but struggles to score.
Until I see the Huskies put together a complete game though or get Kepnang back from injury then I have a hard time picking them to beat anyone with a pulse and ASU definitely has that at the moment. Expect a game that comes down to the final minutes and we’ll see if the Dawgs can get it done.
My record this year: 12-3 Straight Up, 5-9-1 Against the Spread
Washington Huskies- 69, Arizona State Sun Devils- 71