Michigan vs. Arizona State Odds, Picks: How to Bet Legends Classic Final
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
Michigan vs. Arizona State Odds
-114o / -105u
|Arizona State Odds
-114o / -105u
In my mind, Feast Week means important neutral-site events between NCAA tournament hopefuls (and daytime hoops, of course).
Given that premise, Feast Week actually began last night at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.
Michigan boatraced a hapless Pitt defense, torching the Panthers for a scintillating 1.36 points per possession. What was once a 17-14 deficit gradually became a 30-point laugher.
After the Wolverines’ win, they sat and waited to see which familiar face(s) they would see. Both Arizona State (Frankie Collins) and VCU (Zeb Jackson, Brandon Johns Jr.) feature former Michigan men. Potential revenge games lurked.
The Sun Devils prevailed in a battle of teams missing their stars. That means Collins will surely be motivated to stick it to his old teammates. Of course, Michigan will be anxious to prove he never should have left.
Hunter Dickinson is the catalyst here. A truly gargantuan human, Dickinson’s deft post moves and soft touch have made him a load to handle in the paint. He carves out position on the block and then uses his broad shoulders to clear space for quick finishes.
Most teams have to send double-teams, but that is quickly becoming a “pick your poison” dilemma. His passing has become a legitimate weapon — he had five assists and no turnovers last night — and the Wolverines possess multiple lethal shooters around the perimeter.
Wings Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard (son of coach Juwan) have evolved into true weapons offensively. Bufkin is evolving as a creator, while Howard simply knows how to score.
Their continued development bodes well for a Michigan attack that looked uncertain outside of Dickinson in the preseason.
At this early stage in the season, the Wolverines’ biggest weakness has been their perimeter defense. They frequently play smallish guards (Jaelin Llewellyn, Dug McDaniel), and Dickinson can be a hindrance in pick-and-roll coverage.
Eastern Michigan’s Emoni Bates and Noah Farrakhan carved them up off the bounce, and Arizona State has plenty of capable dribble-drivers — including Collins.
The Sun Devils squeaked by last night, flipping an 11-point deficit with nine minutes remaining into a narrow victory.
Their defense carried the day, holding VCU to just seven points during that nine-minute comeback.
ASU benefited from star VCU guard Ace Baldwin being a surprise late scratch just before tip.
Of course, the Sun Devils have injury concerns of their own.
Notably, key wing/forward Marcus Bagley did not even travel with the team due to a hip injury. He has been in and out of the lineup frequently in his tenure. Arizona State consistently looks better when he plays, though, as he offers a true shot-making threat with size.
Without him, ASU plays a lot smaller. Two 6-foot-1 dynamos, Collins and DJ Horne, dash around the perimeter and try to get into gaps. The Cambridge brothers — 6-foot-4 Desmond and 6-foot-6 Devan — lurk as secondary threats.
Inside, ASU has multiple bodies to throw at Dickinson, with Warren Washington first in line. He fouled out in just 22 minutes against a much lesser VCU frontcourt, though.
Alonzo Gaffney, Duke Brennan and Enoch Boakye will all likely get chances to slow down Michigan’s prolific big man, as well.
Michigan vs. Arizona State Betting Pick
The total will likely be a major tug of war between efficiency and pace. Both teams have clear routes to points.
For Arizona State, it’s via repeated pick-and-rolls with Collins and Horne while forcing Dickinson to defend in space.
For Michigan, it’s through the skilled Dickinson on the block and playing against a rotating defense when the Sun Devils send help.
However, tempo could be depressed in this one. Neither team’s semifinal matchup had much pace (67 possessions for Michigan, 68 for ASU). Plus, this game is obviously a back-to-back for both teams. That often tilts games towards the under.
Per Bet Labs, in November games where both teams are playing back-to-back, the under is 805-685-17. The lack of rest — plus higher stakes — often necessitates a slow game.
Instead, the side is slightly more appealing. Michigan’s offensive explosion last night foreshadowed the potential arc of this game. Arizona State’s lack of size at various positions could prove fatal against the Wolverines’ plethora of skilled attackers.
Dickinson’s dominance is a Thanos-esque inevitability in the paint, and if Michigan’s perimeter players hit shots, say goodnight.
I also view Michigan as having a sizable coaching edge here. That may be mitigated somewhat by such a quick turnaround, but it also means ingrained habits — shot selection, defensive discipline — become paramount.
I trust the Wolverines far more in those aspects.
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