Nevada vs Arizona State Odds, Picks for NCAA Tournament
Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona State’s Desmond Cambridge celebrates after making a 3-pointer.
Nevada vs Arizona State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Arizona State Odds
-110o / -110u
Arizona State and Nevada meet in Dayton on Wednesday to attempt to keep their seasons alive.
For the Sun Devils, it's their third First Four game in the past six seasons. Head coach Bobby Hurley has grown accustomed to playing in Dayton, as it's where he's started all three of his NCAA Tournaments with ASU.
Under Hurley, the Sun Devils are 1-1 in the "play-in game."
For Nevada, it's a collective sigh of relief. Only 31% of the 229 bracketologists at Bracket Matrix included the Wolf Pack in their Field of 68, meaning it was quite a shock to hear their name called over Rutgers, a team included in 95% of prospective brackets.
If momentum is a thing, Nevada is in trouble.
Whereas many teams enter the NCAA Tournament playing their best basketball, the Wolf Pack come into the Big Dance limping after losing their past three games. All three of those losses came at the hands of non-tournament teams, and the Wolf Pack were favored by at least two possessions in all of them.
Nevada has been shaky the past month, going just 2-4 straight up and against the spread. Per BartTorvik, since Feb. 15 the Wolf Pack rank 97th overall nationally (for comparison, ASU ranks 63rd).
Recent history also hasn't been kind to the Mountain West in the NCAA Tournament; in its last 50 tourney games, the conference is just 14-35-1 against the spread.
But Nevada is talented and did earn an invitation to the dance, so a return to its prior form is certainly possible.
The Wolf Pack are one of the nation's biggest teams, starting five players standing 6-foot-4, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-7, and 7-foot.
Offensively, Nevada wants to bully its opponents by feeding the post and freeing up its talented wings with an array of screens. Few teams in the country have been as prolific from the free-throw line this season, as Nevada ranks 22nd in free-throw attempt rate and sixth in free-throw percentage.
Against an aggressive defense like Arizona State, which has been known to get into foul trouble, free-throw shooting will be a major edge.
But if the whistle isn't blowing, it's going to be hard for Nevada to score in the half-court. The Wolf Pack don't take good shots, ranking 315th in ShotQuality's Rim-&-3 Rate; they also settle for midrange looks and eschew the offensive glass in favor of getting back in transition.
It's difficult to score against ASU, the nation's 28th-best defense, per KenPom, in the half-court. The Sun Devils are long, athletic and rank sixth nationally in 2-point field goal percentage allowed.
Per Synergy, ASU is very good at defending the post, and you can bet former Wolf Pack member and current 7-footer Warren Washington will be eager to dominate his old team on the block.
The Sun Devils have proven they can beat just about anybody in the country with wins at Arizona and against Creighton. Unfortunately, ASU's erratic tendencies make the opposite true as well, as we saw the Sun Devils drop a game to Texas Southern earlier this season.
ASU's perimeter trio of Desmond Cambridge (another former Wolf Pack member), DJ Horne and Frankie Collins is about as quick as they come, and they can wreak havoc on shaky ball-handlers.
Nevada is one of the nation's better ball-security teams, but it also hasn't faced many teams as athletic and quick as ASU. It's very possible the Sun Devils can speed up the Wolf Pack and force them into uncharacteristic errors.
Erraticism is the name of the game for ASU's offense. The Sun Devils have a wealth of talented guards and wings, but just about every single one of them is inconsistent. Case in point, in the Pac-12 Tournament, Cambridge scored 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting the first game, 27 points on 10-of-21 shooting the next and eight points on 3-of-10 shooting the final contest.
If ASU is firing on all cylinders, it will run over Nevada. If it's not, this game could be a struggle.
Nevada does two things very well that could spell doom for ASU:
- 1) the Wolf Pack don't turn the ball over, and
- 2) the Wolf Pack get back in transition.
ASU needs to play in the open court to reach its potential — if this contest turns into a half-court affair, Nevada will likely emerge victorious.
Since the Wolf Pack are so good at protecting the rock, ASU might find it difficult to create live ball turnovers, the key to starting its break. And, as mentioned in the previous section, Nevada doesn't crash the glass for the purpose of stopping transition going the other way. Only four teams nationally have allowed a lower rate of transition opportunities than the Wolf Pack this season, per Hoop-Math.
If it does turn into a half-court contest, the Sun Devils will try to put the slower-footed Wolf Pack in ball-screen coverage. ASU is feast or famine in this action, depending on whether or not its guards ate their Wheaties that morning.
The good news is Nevada is a poor pick-and-roll defensive squad and can be exploited in this action.
Nevada vs Arizona State Betting Pick
In a matchup featuring teams with conflicting styles that can more or less take away what the other likes to do, I like to default to the more talented side.
In this case, that's Arizona State — a team with a boatload of potential and athleticism. ASU's best is better than Nevada's best. As bettors, we just hope the Sun Devils bring their best on Wednesday.
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