The Arizona State Sun Devils are a participant in the First Four in consecutive years. Last year, they took the Syracuse Orange down to the wire, but one final shot could not fall in a thrilling game. Now, the Sun Devils face the St. John’s Red Storm. Head coach Bobby Hurley is still looking for his first NCAA Tournament win in three attempts. Hurley also led the Buffalo Bulls to the NCAA Tournament in 2015.
Meanwhile, Chris Mullin is slowly building St. John’s back into a potential basketball power. Mullin has increased the win total in each of his four seasons with the Red Storm. Now, he has an opportunity to take his alma mater to the round of 64 with a single win in Dayton.
11 St. John’s Red Storm (21-12) vs. 11 Arizona State Sun Devils (22-10)
When: Wednesday March 20, 9 p.m. EDT Aprox
Where: Dayton, Ohio – UD Arena
Betting Line: Arizona State -2 – o/u 152.5
St. John’s Red Storm Breakdown-
At times, the Red Storm can be as explosive as any team in college basketball. They are scoring 77.5 points per game. When everything is flowing smoothly, point guard Shamorie Ponds is leading the way on both ends. Ponds is averaging 19.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game. Ponds is also shooting 45.6 percent from the field. However, he is not the only double digit scorer for the Red Storm. Mustapha Heron and L.J. Figueroa each score a bit over 14 points per game. Figueroa leads the team with 6.2 rebounds per game. Heron connects on 42 percent of his 3-point attempts to lead the starters. Meanwhile, Marvin Clark and Justin Simon each score over 10 points per game. They all need to play a complete game to earn the slight upset on Tuesday night.
Unfortunately, the Red Storm are only (13-18) against the spread. They are (16-15) vs. the over this season. Meaning, the Red Storm will only go as far as their defense can take them. So far, they have given up 74.8 points per game. Therefore, the Red Storm has a 2.7 point differential.
The Red Storm is (6-1) in neutral site games this season. Three of those wins came at Madison Square Garden.
Arizona State Sun Devils Breakdown –
The Sun Devils score roughly the same amount as St. John’s. They are averaging 77.5 points per game. Defensively, they are giving up 73.1 points per game, equating to a 4.7 point differential. They are loaded with Top 100 talent. More importantly, they are led in scoring by freshman Luguentz Dort. The smooth freshman can utilize his size and skill to get into the paint. It will be interesting to see how comfortable Dort is against the pressure defense. He comes into the First Four contest with 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. However, Dort only shoots 31.5 percent from 3-point range.
Therefore, point guard Remy Martin will be critical in getting the Sun Devils into their offense. Martin helps complete the dynamic back court by scoring 13.4 points per game. He also dishes out a team-high 5.1 assists per game. Meaning, the guard matchup should be spectacular for 40 minutes or more if needed.
The Sun Devils have scored 80 or more points in 15 games. However, they only reached that mark in 3 out of their last 11 games. They scored 80 or more points in 7 of their 12 nonconference games. As a result, St. John’s might be in for a long game if the Sun Devils get hot from the perimeter. The Sun Devils are (17-14) against the spread. They are (13-19) vs. the over.
Pick- St. John’s 81 – Arizona State 79