Arizona State Sun Devils vs. St. John’s Red Storm
The Arizona State Sun Devils and St. John’s Red Storm both went into Selection Sunday with confidence
that they were going to be selected, but still had some anxious moments leading up to their name being
called. The Red Storm looked like a lock to make the NCAA Tournament after a 15-3 start, but they had a
rough last two months of the season. The Pac 12 was absolutely horrendous this year and the only
reason why they are probably here is because Oregon ended up winning the Pac 12 and that was who the
Sun Devils lost to in the Pac 12 tournament. On a side note, these are the type of games that the Selection
Committee needs to try and avoid in the future: middling power-5 teams that tried to play their way out of
the tournament. Arizona State is a -2 point favorite.
Storm Come into Tournament Skidding
St. John’s lost five of their last seven games and four of those losses came to teams that missed out on
the NCAA Tournament. What got them here are some big wins, including three against Marquette and
Villanova. The Red Storm have a great three-point shooter in Mustapha Heron, but no one else on the
team has been better than average. Still, they aren’t afraid to bomb away with their top four scorers taking
a combined 614 threes. The Red Storm aren’t a good rebounding team and they will need to show some
extra effort in that regard Wednesday night. Both of these teams like to play fast and shoot the three, so
any extra possessions given to the Sun Devils could be fatal for the Red Storm.
Sun Devils Looking for Solid Tournament Game
Arizona State did not get any help in the Pac 12 in their overall resume, but wins over Mississippi State,
Utah State, and Kansas were huge given how bad the conference was this season. Arizona State shoots a
bunch of three pointers, but does not do it overly well. The emergence of San Diego State transfer Zylan
Cheatham as a double-double threat has given this team an interior presence that it lacked last year, and
he will be key against St. John’s. He will be the best player in the paint in this game and if the Sun Devils
recognize that, he should have a huge game against the small Red Storm. However, that is a big “if” as the
Sun Devils sometimes forget about him in favor of their tempo and mediocre guard play.
Storm Eliminate Sun Devils
Although neither team is particularly efficient on the offensive end, both teams play at a fast pace and
take a lot of threes, so this one might get up there in terms of points if both teams bring their shooting
touch to Dayton. Arizona State (along with Oregon and Washington) may be on a mission to silence the
critics of the Pac 12, but desire only takes you so far. On the other hand, it is hard to figure out which St.
John’s team will show up. This is a team who lost by 32 to Marquette in the Big East Tournament after
beating them by 20 earlier in the season. Expect something in the middle of that, which I still think is good
enough to beat Arizona State. I am taking St. John’s to cover and win in a minor upset. Bet the Storm +2.