Busting Brackets

Arizona vs Arizona State: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

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Arizona looks to care of business at home in Pac-12 play against rival Arizona State.

TV Schedule: Saturday, February 17, 9:30 pm ET (FS1)
Location: McHale Center in Tuscon, Arizona

It's rivalry week in Arizona. The Wildcats look to build upon a five-game win streak Saturday when Arizona State comes to town. No. 5 Arizona has had the past week to prepare for the upcoming matchup with ASU after getting the easy 99-79 victory at Colorado last weekend. Caleb Love led the Wildcats with 19 points in the win.

Arizona (19-5) has been one of the best offenses all season, averaging 90.1 points per game which is second in the country. The Wildcats play at a high pace, leading the nation with 66.5 shots per game. Usually, teams that play at such a high pace aren’t very efficient, but Arizona bucks that trend making nearly 49 percent from the floor.

UNC transfer Caleb Love (18.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg) leads this high-powered Wildcat offense. Oumar Ballo (13.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg) is just shy of averaging a double-double for the season. Pelle Larsson (13.4 ppg), Keshad Johnson (11.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg), and Kylan Boswell (10.0 ppg) are all averaging double-digit points as well.

The Wildcats’ defense hasn’t been great this season, giving up 73.5 points per game and allowing opponents to shoot nearly 48 percent from inside the arc. Arizona has allowed 80 or more points six times this year, going 2-4 in those games. But the Wildcats offense usually makes up for what the defense lacks.

Arizona has done a great job on the boards this season grabbing over 43 rebounds per game and only giving up 32.2 per game. To help on the defensive side, the Wildcats force more than 14 turnovers per game and record 8.8 steals.

Arizona State (13-12) currently sits towards the bottom of the Pac-12 standings. The Sun Devils have struggled to pick up wins lately, going on a six-game losing streak before winning the last two games. On Wednesday night, ASU beat up Oregon State, winning the game 79-61. Jamiya Neal had a huge game, scoring 21 points off the bench. Adam Miller and Jose Perez each pitched in 16 points, and Frankie Collins added 14 points in the win.

ASU has struggled to score points this season. The Sun Devils are averaging 70.0 points this season and have scored less than 65 points seven times this season. In two games earlier this season ASU didn’t break the 50-point mark. Arizona State has looked a little better on offense the past couple of games, but the wins still aren’t there consistently.

Frankie Collins (13.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg) is the team's leading scorer this season. Jose Perez (12.9 ppg) and Jamiya Neal (11.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) have been reliable scoring threats for ASU. After missing the first few weeks of the season LSU transfer Adam Miller (11.4 ppg) has scored ten or more points in 10 of the 16 games he has played.

Arizona State is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to defense, giving up 72.1 points per game. ASU likes to slow opponents down and limit their shots, but what hurts them the most on the defensive end is rebounding. The Sun Devils allow the third most rebounds to opponents, giving up nearly 41 per game. Not great when the offense is struggling to find the bottom of the basket.

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Arizona should run away with the win in this matchup. Arizona State’s defense has been decent most of the season, but until now ASU hasn’t run into an offense as good as Arizona’s. I expect a relatively easy win for the Wildcats at home.