ASU basketball returns from its trip to the Bay Area with two more huge wins.
The victories over Stanford and Cal have put ASU right back into the NCAA Tournament picture, and with Oregon and Oregon State coming to Tempe this week, ASU has another opportunity to cement its place in the field.
The Sun Devils bring a five-game winning streak into this week. But with difficult games on the horizon, it won’t be easy to stretch the streak to six or seven. Here’s a look at this week’s games.
ASU vs. Oregon (Thursday Feb. 20, 7 p.m. MST, Tempe, Arizona)
Oregon has proven to be one of the best teams in the Pac-12 this season. They have the third-highest composite index in the conference and are tied for first in the conference standings.
The Ducks are led by senior guard Payton Pritchard. Nearly averaging 20 points per game this season, he is vital to Oregon’s success.
Additionally, Pritchard has built a reputation over the course of his career for being a thorn in the Sun Devils’ side. In eight games against the Sun Devils, he is averaging nearly 16 points a game, including 29 against the team last month. The Sun Devils will have to put up one of their best defensive efforts of the season to stop Pritchard from single-handedly beating them.
ASU’s biggest downfall in this game, however, will be its turnovers. The Sun Devils have committed the third-most turnovers in Pac-12 play, and the Ducks have the most steals in conference play. ASU junior guard Remy Martin and other primary ball-handlers will have to be careful with their passes. But given Oregon’s defensive prowess, I don’t see it happening.
Oregon: 76.36% chance to win
ASU: 23.64% chance to win
Prediction: Oregon 81, ASU 70
ASU vs. Oregon State (Saturday Feb. 22, 6 p.m. MST, Tempe, Arizona)
When the Sun Devils played the Beavers in Corvallis last month, the team used a dominant first half to win. Martin, redshirt senior guard Rob Edwards and redshirt junior forward Romello White combined for 54 points in a game that never seemed in doubt, even though the Beavers made a comeback late in the second half.
Oregon State proved its offensive prowess in the second half of that game. Led by senior forward Tres Tinkle, Oregon State put 51 points on the Sun Devils in the second half, nearly coming back to win the game.
However, ASU’s recent offensive performances have proven that it is capable of keeping up with that kind of scoring from Oregon State. During their winning streak, the Sun Devils have averaged just over 78 points per game. If the Sun Devils can get to that mark against the Beavers, it’s hard to see them losing.
ASU: 61.8% chance to win
Oregon State: 38.2% chance to win
Prediction: ASU 81, Oregon State 76
Now, take a look at where each team sits 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 Sports Reference and recruiting rankings are pulled from 247 Sports.
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. At this point in the season, most of the system's weight comes from this year.