We are officially halfway through the Pac-12 basketball season and it’s been an up-and-down start to the conference season for ASU.
On top of their dramatic overtime win against UA on Thursday night, the Sun Devils have also picked up big wins against Oregon and UCLA.
However, those wins have been countered by some bad-looking losses against Utah and Stanford. Now, holding a 6-3 conference record, ASU will have to play their way into the NCAA tournament during the second half of the season.
To start the second half, the Washington schools will pay a visit to Tempe, giving ASU a great chance to pick up important wins. Here are my predictions for those two games:
Washington State at ASU (Thursday Feb. 7, 6 p.m. MST)
Coming off the win against UA, ASU has a great opportunity to improve to 7-3 in-conference. The Cougars have struggled all year, starting off 1-8 in-conference and their only win came in an 82-59 win over California. Additionally, Washington State ranks 326th in the nation in opponent shooting percentage (opponents are shooting nearly 50 percent from the field against them), and they rank 325th in assists allowed per game.
After Remy Martin’s performance against UA, which saw him put up 31 points and eight assists, it won’t be surprising if Martin rips up Washington State’s defense in a similar fashion. The basketball composite index agrees, giving ASU just over a 70 percent chance of winning.
The only way for the Cougars to have a chance is if senior Robert Franks has a big game. He currently ranks 23rd in the nation in scoring, but he’ll have to score above his average for his team to keep up. Before going into a huge game against Washington on Saturday, ASU will pick up a win Thursday night.
ASU: 70.13 percent chance to win
Washington State: 29.87 percent chance to win
Prediction: ASU 79, Washington State 62
Washington at ASU (Saturday Feb. 9, 8 p.m. MST)
If ASU wants to make the NCAA tournament at the end of the season, this game could make or break their chances. Many consider Washington to be the best team in the conference, so a win over the Huskies would go a long way for ASU’s tournament odds.
While analysts rank Washington highly, the composite index doesn’t agree. The index gives ASU a slightly better chance to win, especially once home-court advantage is factored in.
Whether the game is in Tempe or not, Washington presents ASU with a difficult challenge. The Huskies rank 24th in the nation in points allowed per game, so the Sun Devils may struggle to put up enough points to win. Luguentz Dort has struggled to perform up to his potential in many conference games, but he’ll need to up his game if ASU wants to beat the Huskies. Zylan Cheatham and Rob Edwards will need to put up big games as well.
Unfortunately for ASU, it’s hard to see all three of them playing at their best. It will be a close game, but ASU will fall on Saturday night.
ASU: 51.83 percent chance to win
Washington: 48.17 percent chance to win
Prediction: Washington 81, ASU 76
Now, let’s see where each team in the Pac-12 compares in the composite index:
The composite index is formed by combining our own “Power Index” with other rankings and ratings. Read below to see specifics about how the composite index is formed.
The primary component of the composite index is a custom "power index" which combines various player/team unit rankings and scores to create one number that tells how good a team is overall.
However, because the custom index does not account for in-season changes, ESPN's BPI, Sagarin rankings and national composite scores are factored in as well.
After each of these scores are found for each team, the median and average of those scores for each team is calculated. The median and averages for each team are then averaged together to find the composite index score.
To predict games, the composite index scores for each team in the game are added together, adding 10 points for the home team. After that, the composite index score for each team is divided by that total to find win probability.
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