Nick's Picks: Predictions for third week of ASU men's basketball

State Press reporter Nick Hedges previews the next week for ASU men's basketball

ASU men’s basketball had a busy weekend, beating St. John’s before losing to defending national champions Virginia. ASU led by double-digits at one point, but UVA freshman guard Casey Morsell scored 19 points to lead the Cavaliers over the Sun Devils, 48-45.

The games don’t stop coming for ASU, however. After playing at Princeton Tuesday night, ASU will make the trip to the Bay Area to play the San Francisco Dons. This is the only game scheduled for this week’s article, so let’s get into it.

ASU vs. San Francisco (Tuesday, Dec. 3, 9 p.m. MST, San Francisco, CA)

This game was scheduled to be played last year, but it was canceled due to wildfires in Northern California. Two years ago, the Sun Devils welcomed the Dons to Tempe and beat them 75-57.

ASU was expected to cruise to victory in that meeting, but things may not be as easy this time. San Francisco has started the season undefeated, including hard-fought wins over Princeton, which plays ASU Tuesday, and Yale, which went to the NCAA Tournament last year.

Most of the Dons’ key contributors are coming back from last year’s team, led by the backcourt duo of juniors Jamaree Bouyea and Charles Minlend. They are each averaging over 14 points per game and are largely responsible for San Francisco’s fast start to the year. The Sun Devils will have their hands full with them.

However, ASU still comes into this matchup with the edge in terms of talent. Junior guard Remy Martin nearly beat Virginia single-handedly, and newcomers like freshmen forward Jalen Graham and guard Jaelen House are finally starting to get integrated.

If ASU wants to win comfortably against San Francisco, it will need more from Romello White. The junior forward is averaging just under 10 points per game, and he has been fairly underwhelming in many situations throughout the year so far. This game is a great chance for White to pick things up, and if he can get into a groove, ASU is hard to beat.

The composite index gives ASU the bigger chance to win, but it is not by much. There is only just over a 400-point gap between the two teams in the index, which is the slimmest margin so far this season. With a 61% chance to win, the Sun Devils should come out with a victory, but the Dons could defend their home court. Expect a very close game. I’ll stick with the composite index here.

ASU: 61.14% chance to win
San Francisco: 38.86% chance to win
Prediction: ASU 68, San Francisco 66

Now, let’s see where each team in the Pac-12 stands in the composite index as we head into Feast Week.

A team's composite index is one number formed using stats and recruiting rankings from the past several years and games played this year. Read below to see specifics about how the composite index is formed.

The primary component of the composite index is a custom power index formed by statistics from previous seasons as well as recruiting rankings from the past several years. Stats are collected from www.sports-reference.com and recruiting rankings are pulled from www.247sports.com.

Essentially, stats that help a team’s success are added to the score, and metrics that hurt are subtracted. This one-number scoring system makes for easy mathematical predictions for each game.

Because the current season is in progress, the system weighs recruiting rankings and stats from previous years higher than this season's numbers. As the season progresses, the composite index will weigh current statistics more and more.


Reach the reporter at nkhedges@asu.edu and follow @nicktrimshedges on Twitter.

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