Pac-12 Basketball Preview and Free Pick
The Big 10 and the Pac-12 gave into the college basketball money by scheduling Sunday contests. The lack of football, both college and pro, in February and March make campus hoops the sports world focus in most of North American. California travels to the desert on Saturday night for a P-12 Sunday night affair versus Hurley’s Girlies. The contest is slated to see first tip at 6:00 p.m. ET at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.
Arizona State Sun Devils
The return of versatile guard Rob Edwards from injury has seen the Sun Devils average 89 points per game. The former Cleveland State’r has been extremely active spending a month rehabbing a back injury. Edwards saw significant minutes for the second straight game versus Stanford on Wednesday. Furthermore the 6′ 4″ guard is averaging 22 points in his two games since returning to active duty.
The talk that surrounded the Sun Devils after completing their non-conference schedule in late December was the squad’s improved defense. At first glance it was a pivot from coach Hurley’s 2017-18 team. Upon examining the Devils early season peripherals the surface and traditional stats defensively were a mirage. The weak November and December non-con slate produced a number of illusions.. ASU’s defensive has passed several tests the first four months of the campaign but through 26 games this season Hurley’s group has graded poorly defensively.
As a result of discovering that his first two rotations were more effective and creative on offense the now-Sun Devils present a number of challenges to league foes. The squad is best utilizing their athleticism playing in a tempo-based scheme. Consequently the growth of the young Sun Devils has revealed an offense that can score from the inside out and do so four deep from the bench. The Devils two rotations can run the floor with any Pac-12 foe and the execution of the tempo-heavy transition from defense has resulted in the team leading the conference in rebounding margin. Hence the easy second chance points resulting in game day success.
ASU ranks 236th in Division I in defensive efficiency. The Devils have allowed an average of 74 points per game on the year.
California Golden Bears
The 2018-19 Bears couldn’t avoid a second straight 20-loss season. And the rebuild for this Cal basketball program is still a pair of campaigns away from being able to compete in the top half of the league standings.
Head coach Wyking Jones inherited a roster with only two returning letterman last season — no Division I program had fewer — and neither of the returning lettered averaged more than five points per game.
Cal ranks last in the Pac-12 in virtually every significant offensive and defensive statistical category. The Bears are last in the nation in field-goal percentage defense and have allowed a total of 30 3-pointers over the past two games.
The evolution of freshman backcourt’er Luguentz Dort has been over-the-top exciting. Dort has officially graduated from early season inconsistent freshman status to a valued contributor who has averaged 17 ppg across the team’s last half dozen games.
The combination of a healthy Edwards and the on-and-off the court leadership of Remy Martin qualifies the Devils as an at-large participant in the 2019 “Dance”.
The first of two regular season matchups between the two schools resulted in an 80-66 Sun Devils victory. The 146 total points in the game resulted in an ASU cover as nine-point road favorites with the total coming in south of the closing number. Both of these Pac-12 squads have improved their offensive effeciency as the conference slate has played itself out. The Sunday dinner date for these two groups of hoopsters plays out as a high-flying offensive show that doesn’t disappoint those backing the high side of the total.