Bobby Hurley has never beaten the Arizona Wildcats since taking over as Arizona State’s head coach back in 2015, but Thursday will be his best chance to snap that skid.
The Sun Devils (14-6) are listed at 5.5-point favorites as they welcome the Wildcats (14-7) to Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Both teams are 5-3 in the Pac-12, coming off a loss to a Southern California school. In Arizona’s case, it was actually two 20-point losses.
KenPom gives ASU a 66 percent of winning with a projected score of 72-67. Here is how we think the game will turn out. Be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section below.
Brian J. Pedersen — ASU wins 73-59
First things first: Sean Miller’s ownership of the Hurley brothers won’t disappear just because he’ll no longer be unbeaten against Bobby (6-0) and Dan (2-0) after Thursday night.
That being said, ASU has to be licking its chops knowing the Wildcats are limping into Wells Fargo Arena with a prolonged shooting slump, a noticeable loss in confidence and, most importantly, a very short-handed team. Don’t expect Chase Jeter to play, and even if he does, it won’t be close to 100 percent and that means his impact in the paint on both ends won’t be much. That means ASU’s forward-oriented team to feast on Arizona’s depleted frontcourt. If the shots actually fall, Arizona has a chance to win a seventh straight in the series, but don’t bet on that.
Ronnie Stoffle — ASU wins 72-61
I’m making this prediction on the basis that Jeter will not play. Even if he’s out there, it’s unlikely he’ll be 100 percent. Arizona has an advantage with two true point guards in Justin Coleman (despite his recent play) and Brandon Williams. If Jeter were healthy, that would be another major advantage as ASU doesn’t have as talented of a big to combat him.
This game will likely turn into the Sun Devils forcing UA into their style of play which will be uptempo with heavy doses of Luguentz Dort and Zylan Cheatham. Without Emmanuel Akot, Arizona won’t be able to defend that combo.
ASU has a solid home court advantage and without Jeter it’ll be too tough for the Wildcats to escape with a win.
Congrats on your first win against UA, Bobby. It certainly took you long enough.
Zant Reyez — ASU wins 80-73
After getting smoked by the So. Cal teams, Arizona is trying to keep the ship from sinking. But the Sun Devils have their forks (that people fear for some reason) sharpened and come away with a win.
Ezra Amacher — ASU wins 78-68
Even if Chase Jeter returns to the court Thursday night, it’s hard to see Arizona pulling off an upset of sorts in Tempe. The Wildcats saw their confidence all but destroyed this past weekend against the LA schools. Three days of practice won’t be enough to restore what was lost in those 80 minutes of play.
ASU may be the only Pac-12 school outside Washington with hopes for an at-large bid, so it’s safe to say the Sun Devils will be heading into this game with plenty of motivation. I’m guessing we’ll see a big night from Remy Martin, who doesn’t have too many high profile games left to impress NBA scouts.
If Arizona keeps this one within single digits, I’ll be impressed.
Christopher Boan — ASU wins 84-67
No Chase Jeter, no chance.
Ryan Kelapire — ASU wins 78-67
This is a game ASU has no business losing. It is at home against a less talented Arizona team that will likely be without its best player in Chase Jeter.
I have a weird feeling that Arizona could win this game in an extremely ugly defensive battle in which neither team can hit a jump shot, but otherwise I have ASU taking this one. Maybe easily too, if the Wildcats’ offensive woes continue and the Sun Devils can force turnovers and run in transition.
Also: ASU’s ability to rebound on both ends is scary if Jeter does not play.