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

State Press reporter Nick Hedges predicts the next few games for ASU men's basketball

ASU men's basketball heads into week four after several close calls in their last two games. After wins on the road against Princeton and San Francisco, ASU returns home to try and continue their winning streak.

Without further ado, here is our look at the week ahead for ASU men’s basketball.


ASU vs. Louisiana (Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. MST, Tempe, Arizona)

Simply put, the Sun Devils should be able to handle the Ragin’ Cajuns with ease. ASU outranks Louisiana in almost every important metric and frankly, the visitors don’t seem to have anything that could beat ASU here.

However, ASU will have to contend with Louisiana’s senior forward Jalen Johnson. Playing in his first season after transferring from Saint Louis, he is averaging over 17 points per game. Sun Devil forwards like redshirt junior Romello White and freshman Jalen Graham will be very important for ASU because they will be responsible for keeping Johnson in check.

Even if Johnson has a big game, expect the Sun Devils to come out with a win. ASU just has too much talent. If Louisiana’s past performances are any indication, ASU could run away with this one.

ASU: 95.71% chance to win
Lousiana: 4.29% chance to win
Prediction: ASU 82, Louisiana 60


ASU vs. Prairie View A&M (Wednesday Dec. 11, 8 p.m. MST, Tempe, Arizona)

Similar to the game against Louisiana, ASU shouldn’t have too much trouble against Prairie View. The Sun Devils score much better than the Panthers in the composite index. In fact, Prairie View A&M has a negative score.

The Panthers might give the Sun Devils some fits with their defense. Prairie View A&M has forced the 32nd most turnovers in the country, and that could be a bad sign for ASU. However, the Sun Devils have done a good job of taking care of the ball this season. So, while there may be a few more turnovers than usual, don’t expect anything too crazy.

This game figures to present the Sun Devils’ backcourt with a terrific opportunity to put up points in a hurry. The Panthers have given up more three-pointers than 236 other schools. Sharpshooters like redshirt senior guard Rob Edwards and junior forward Kimani Lawrence could have a field day from deep. They have struggled this season, so this game could present an opportunity to finally find a rhythm. If that happens, ASU could enter its tougher games with a real offensive threat.

ASU: 88.28% chance to win
Prairie View A&M: 11.72% chance to win
Prediction: ASU 80, Prairie View A&M 68


Now, let’s take a look at where each team in the Pac-12 stands in the composite index:

 

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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