Aztecs prepare to face their toughest opponent of the season
THE MATCHUP: San Diego State Aztecs (4-0) @ Arizona State Sun Devils (3-1)
TIP: 8 p.m. MT
TV: Fox Sports 1
STREAM: FuboTV – Seven-day free trial
RADIO: San Diego State | Arizona State
Odds via BetMGM: Arizona State -4.5
On Thursday the Aztecs will face the Sun Devils of Arizona State. It figures to be one of the better games of the day, as it is the only game featuring even a single ranked team, let alone two.
Arizona State comes off a conference win against Cal where they controlled the game the whole time. The Sun Devils are led by Senior Remy Martin, who is averaging 17.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists through 4 games. They also feature high flying freshman forwards Josh Christopher and Marcus Bagley, who are combining for 30.5 points, 10.1 Rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game so far this season. Bagley is coming off an injury against Cal and is questionable to return against the Aztecs.
Josh Christopher with 12 points early for the Sun Devils 👀 pic.twitter.com/KYHFdc4mq2
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 27, 2020
The Aztecs are coming off a game against Pepperdine where despite winning 65-60, they struggled mightily. In the first 8 minutes of the game the Aztecs had scored a mere 3 points and committed 7 turnovers. While normally a prolific shooting team, the Aztecs shot a lowly 10.5% from behind the arc. Led by their defense, they took their first lead with less than 7 minutes to go and managed to pull out a 16 point comeback victory.
Aztecs take the lead with Jordan's free-throw make. pic.twitter.com/pQUsZgTmHL
— San Diego State Men's Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) December 6, 2020
The story of this game will be a contrast of styles. While both teams have shown they’re good on both sides of the ball, each team has a different focus and strength.
Arizona St. comes in with the 8th best offense in the country, compared to the 62nd best defense. The Aztecs on the other hand, come in with only the 53rd best offense, but the 26th best defense, all according to KenPom. Arizona St. also has the 16th fastest tempo in the nation, while the Aztecs have the 28th slowest tempo. Who wins the game will likely come down to who can force their other team out of their style. A fast game favors ASU getting out in transition and scoring a lot, whereas a slower defensive slugfest favors SDSU.
Keys to the game:
Slow the game down – As mentioned earlier, Arizona State is one of the faster teams in the nation. Getting into transition helps them score easy buckets. Forcing them to slow down will not only prevent those baskets, but also force their young stars to play in the half court, where they can get sloppy. The Aztec’s ability to slow things down and wear down the Sun Devils with tough defense and depth, will be key.
Kenpom: ASU 75-72
Torvik: ASU 76-71
EvanMiya.com: SDSU 72-71
It will be a game of runs on both sides. SDSU will start off slow again, although not as slow as they did against Pepperdine. In the end, the Aztecs’ depth, experience, and skill will overcome the Sun Devils’ talent and athleticism. SDSU wins 70-68.