The Arizona State Sun Devils are off to a surprising start in Pac-12 play, and they will look to continue that trend when they visit Washington State on Thursday night at 8 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on Pac-12 Networks, and the Cougars are actually favored by four points in Vegas. KenPom has WSU at 60 percent confidence win, with a 63-60 score prediction.
The Sun Devils are led on offense by freshman point guard Jahii Carson. He isn't a great shooter - just a 47.7 effective field goal percentage - but Carson can create. He has a solid free throw rate, shooting 48 free throws for every 100 shots, and he assists on 31 percent of made baskets when he is on the floor (which is 90 percent of a time).
Carrick Felix is the team's best shooter. He has hit on 62 percent of his twos and 37 percent from three. The 6'6 wing should provide a good matchup for Mike Ladd on both ends of the floor.
Not many protect the rim better than Jordan Bachynski, as he is third nationally in block percentage. The 7'2 junior is sending away 15 percent of opponents' two-pointers, the main reason why Arizona State blocks 17 percent as a whole. Bachynski is also a threat on the offensive end, primarily through rebounding and free throws.
Brock Motum will face a tough challenge against Bachynski, as he, and the rest of his teammates, have struggled with good shot blockers. Look for Motum too take more outside shots tonight.
The most encouraging statistical matchup for WSU is in the two-point defense department. ASU thrives in the paint, but the Cougars have been solid at limiting twos. If the Cougars can hold down the interior on defense, they have a good shot at limiting the Sun Devils.
The least encouraging matchup comes from the previously mentioned block rate. WSU gets blocked more than all but five teams in Division I, and ASU sends shots away more often than all but four teams. Things will be tough inside.
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