Wednesday, January 9 at 9:00 PM ET
The California Golden Bears look to get back on track when they host the Arizona State Sun Devils on Wednesday night. California has lost three straight games while Arizona State has lost two of their last three.
California point guard Paris Austin (14.1 points, 5.2 assists), who missed the 98-83 loss against UCLA last Saturday with an ankle sprain, is a game-time decision against Arizona State, one of the most explosive offensive teams in the Pac-12. Cal ranks 324th in the nation, allowing 79.6 points per game and they need to play better on defense to slow this potent Arizona State squad, as they allowed an average of 90.0 points against USC and UCLA, with nearly half of them in the paint.
Arizona State is coming off a decisive 83-61 home win against Colorado last Saturday and they have one of the best freshman in the Pac-12 in Luguentz Dort, who leads the team with 17.5 points per game. The Sun Devils have six players averaging at least 9.6 points per game, they rank second in the Pac-12 in scoring with 80.4 points per game and lead the conference in rebounding margin at plus-8.6.
Not having Paris Austin against UCLA hurt California and I don't like their chances if he misses tonight's game. If the Golden Bears want to beat the Sun Devils they have to come out focused on the defensive end of the floor. UCLA got many easy baskets off pushing the ball down the floor so California has to improve their transition defense and not let the Arizona State players beat them to the other end.
The Golden Bears also have to play with a better sense of urgency in the second half of their games, particularly right after halftime. Cal usually tries to make comebacks too late in the game and they can't afford to dig themselves into a hole against Arizona State.
NCAA Basketball Trends:
The Arizona State Sun Devils are:
2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games overall
5-15-2 ATS in their last 22 games against Pac-12 opponents
1-5 ATS in their last six road games
1-5 ATS in their last six road games against a team with a winning home record
0-3-1 ATS in their last four games following a straight up win.
The California Golden Bears are:
The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings
Styles make fights, California ranks 251st in adjusted tempo according to KenPom's rankings, averaging 68.0 possessions per 40 minutes and they have to force Arizona State to play at a slow pace in order to stay in the game.
NCAA Basketball Pick: California +8.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports if Paris Austin plays
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA