Josh Christopher and the Arizona State Sun Devils will be one half of a heavyweight west-coast tilt against San Diego State on Thursday, Dec. 10th. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
- Arizona State is a 4.5-point favorite over visiting San Diego State as the ranked teams meet Thursday night in Tempe, Ariz.
- Highly touted freshman forward Josh Christopher is leading Arizona State with 17.5 points a game
- Nine San Diego State players are averaging at least 6.0 points
Arguably the best two college basketball teams in the West not named Gonzaga, will meet Thursday night.
No. 24 San Diego State visits 23rd-ranked Arizona State at 10 p.m. ET at Dessert Financial Arena in Tempe, Ariz. The Aztecs are the only ranked team in the Mountain West Conference and the Sun Devils are the Pac-12’s lone team in the top 25.
Arizona is favored on its homecourt.
#24 San Diego State vs #23 Arizona State Odds
|San Diego State||+176||+4.5 (-108)||Over 146.5 (-115)|
|Arizona State||-210||-4.5 (-112)||Under 146.5 (-105)|
Odds taken Dec. 9 at FanDuel
San Diego States is 4-0 overall and 3-0 against the spread. Arizona State has a 3-1 straight up record but is 1-3 ATS.
ASU Has Fabulous Freshmen
Arizona State’s recruiting class was considered one of the best in school history and the freshman are living up to the lofty expectations so far.
Forward Josh Christopher is scoring 17.5 points a game in what will likely be his lone season before moving on the NBA. The Carson, Calif., native is the highest-rated recruit in Sun Devils’ history.
Josh Christopher with 12 points early for the Sun Devils 👀 pic.twitter.com/KYHFdc4mq2
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 27, 2020
Marcus Bagley, another freshman forward, has a 13.0 scoring average and leads the team with 5.8 rebounds a game. Bagley is a natural fit in Tempe as his grandfather Joe Caldwell was one of the greatest players in Arizona State history.
The Sun Devils are also living up to their reputation as Guard U.
All-American Remy Martin is averaging 17.3 points and tops the Sun Devils with 4.0 assists a game. Fellow senior Alonzo Verge Jr. scored 30 points in the first two games before sitting out the last two games because of COVID-19 contact tracing.
Martin scored 22 points and dished out five assists as Arizona State opened conference play with a 70-62 win at California last Thursday. The Sun Devils, who has not played since then, covered as 6.5-point choices.
Aztecs Perfect So Far
San Diego State returned just two starters from a team that went 30-2 last season and seemed poise to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament until the pandemic forced its cancellation.
However, those two returnees have San Diego State off to a perfect start so far this season. Included is a convincing 73-58 upset of visiting UCLA in the opener as a three-point underdog.
— San Diego State Men’s Basketball (@Aztec_MBB) November 26, 2020
Senior guard Jordan Schakel is averaging a team-high 12.8 points a game and senior forward Matt Mitchell is right behind him at 12.3. Last season, Mitchell had a 12.2 average and Schakel’s was 10.0.
San Diego State has made up for the loss of Malachi Flynn, last season’s MWC Player of the Year, with balance. Nine Aztecs are averaging at least 6.0 points and coach Brian Dutcher has 10 guys playing 10-plus minutes on average.
Schakel scored a team-high 16 points Sunday when San Diego State rallied from 16 points down to beat visiting Pepperdine 65-60 as an 8.5-point favorite. It marked just the fourth time in the last 25 years that the Aztecs overcame that large of a deficit.
Bagley is doubtful because of a strained left calf sustained in the final minutes of the win over California. However, coach Bobby Hurley has not completely ruled Bagley out.
Marcus Bagley needing lots of assistance off the court. Holland Woods, one of his best friends, shares some words and few pats on the chest. pic.twitter.com/uffAoxQPZI
— SunDevilSource.com (@SunDevilSource) December 4, 2020
Verge will return to the lineup after testing negative for the coronavirus multiple times.
The teams last met early in the 2017-18 season at Tempe with Arizona State notching a 90-68 victory. San Diego State led by six points at halftime but was outscored 56-28 in the final 20 minutes.
The Sun Devils, favored by 1.5 points in that game, got 12 points from Martin in 33 minutes off the bench.
Arizona State holds a 14-3 edge in the all-time series.
Look for balanced San Diego State to keep this game closer than the last.
The Pick: San Diego State +4.5 (-108)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.