Arizona State-Vanderbilt Betting Preview: Will Sun Devils Continue Their Steamy Start?

Arizona State-Vanderbilt Betting Preview: Will Sun Devils Continue Their Steamy Start? article feature image

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Remy Martin

  • Vanderbilt hosts No. 20 Arizona State on Monday night (7 p.m. ET on SEC Network).
  • Eli Herskovich breaks down the matchup and makes a pick.

After a wild weekend of college basketball — including Indiana guard Robert Phinisee hitting a buzzer-beating game-winner against Butler — we’re gifted an intriguing matchup between No. 20 Arizona State (8-1) and Vanderbilt (6-2).

Which side delivers more value? Let’s breakdown the matchup.

>> All odds as of Sunday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.

Arizona State Sun Devils at Vanderbilt Commodores 

  • Spread: Pick ’em
  • Over/under: 153
  • Tip: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: SEC Network

After facing an 18-point first-half deficit against Georgia on Saturday, the Sun Devils (5-3-1 against the spread) pulled out a 76-74 win. Arizona State’s 45th-rated Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (95.7 opponents’ points per 100 possessions) was the difference-maker, forcing the Bulldogs into 19 turnovers with three steals via its lead guard Remy Martin.

The Commodores (3-5 ATS) have struggled in that area, as their opponents have generated a 9.9% steal rate. Despite the Sun Devils’ issues in the early goings on the road, they’ll jump out to a hotter start this time around — in large part because of their rebounding edge.

Although Vanderbilt owns a slight size advantage, Arizona State ranks No. 10 and No. 19 in defensive and offensive rebounding rate, respectively.

The Sun Devils’ physicality should frustrate Bryce Drew’s unit, considering it underwhelmed against a similarly tenacious North Carolina State bunch, which owns the seventh-highest opponents’ turnover rate (24.7%) in Division I.

The biggest matchup should come in the paint, with five-star big Simi Shittu (15.9 points per game) going up against an elite defender in Zylan Cheatham. Shittu will boast a three-inch advantage down low, but Cheatham’s ability to defend inside or out — given Shittu’s ball handling prowess — should give the freshman fits.

With fellow five-star Darius Garland (meniscus) out for the season, the Commodores lack the scoring from their newfound backcourt to take pressure off Shittu against this defense.

On the flip side, I’m expecting the Sun Devils’ five-star freshman Luguentz Dort (20.9 points per game) to bounce back after shooting a mere 2-of-10 from the field against Georgia.

Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Luguentz Dort

Vanderbilt doesn’t have a defender who can match-up with Dort’s aggressiveness and 3-point shooting touch (34.7%). He attempted 10 free throws against Georgia despite his overall struggles, and he and his teammates own the 16th-highest free-throw rate (FTA/FGA) in the country. Look for Arizona State to wear down the Commodores in that department down the stretch.

Beyond the matchups on the court, Drew and Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley present an intriguing storyline en route to their current programs.

Hurley left a mid-major in Buffalo in April 2015 while Drew left another in Valparaiso nearly a year later. Hurley’s matchup zone, which he couldn’t utilize last season because of ASU’s offensively-focused team, will be a key in winning the battle of the sidelines.

THE PICK: Arizona State PK

How would you rate this article?