Following back-to-back losses to Colorado (61-52) and Utah (86-63), Arizona State is desperately in need of a signature win to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume. And, tonight’s opponent provides an excellent opportunity to do just that as the Cardinal arrive in town off a huge 83-74 win over UCLA and have a revenge game with Arizona on deck. The situation sets up perfectly for Arizona State, and the Sun Devils are a significantly better team at home where they are 14-1 on the season.
Fundamental Analysis: Arizona State
Arizona State takes the court with a vastly underrated offense that is averaging 75.4 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 68.5 points per game, thereby making the Sun Devils 6.9 points per game better than average offensively. More importantly for Arizona State investors is the fact that the Sun Devils are averaging 78.7 points per game at home this season on 47.8% shooting from the field and 39.7% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Stanford is 4.0 points per game better than average defensively (68.7 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.7 points per game), which gives the Sun Devils a 2.9 points per game advantage on the offensive end of the floor.
Once again, Arizona State is a much different team at home where the Sun Devils are limiting opponents to a mere 63.8 points per game on 39.0% shooting from the field and 29.3% from three-point territory. Overall, the Sun Devils are 3.9 points per game better than average defensively (68.1 points per game to teams that would combine to average 72.0 points per game), which is good enough to slow down a Stanford attack that is averaging just 71.1 points per game on the road. Taking the season as a whole, Stanford is 6.1 points per game better than average offensively (75.7 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 69.6 points per game), which gives the Cardinal a similar advantage on the offensive end of the floor as Arizona State possesses (2.2 points per game edge).
Motivation and a sense of urgency could not be higher for the Sun Devils following their miserable road trip (0-2), which has placed them squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble (I still project Arizona State as an 10 or 11 seed if the regular season ended today). A win tonight would accomplish two goals: (1) enhance the Sun Devils’ NCAA Tournament resume; and (2) give the Sun Devils an opportunity to finish within the top 4 of the Pac-12 standings, which would earn them a first-round bye in next month’s conference tournament. Arizona State is also looking to avenge a 76-70 loss at Stanford earlier this month, which provides even greater motivation for the Sun Devils. Finally, head coach Herb Sendek is a profitable 31-16 ATS following back-to-back conference defeats, 53-31 ATS off a double-digit conference loss and 33-21 ATS off two or more consecutive losses. Take Arizona State and invest with confidence.