NCAA Basketball Picks for Arizona State vs. Arizona

Jeff Grant

Thursday, January 16, 2014 2:47 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 2:47 PM GMT

The Arizona State Sun Devils haven’t had much success when facing top-ranked opponents, as they prepare to take on the Arizona Wildcats Thursday night.

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this Pac-12 Conference matchup at the McKale Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":255028, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Taking on No. 1

Arizona State is 13-4 SU and 9-6 ATS through its first 17 games of the 2013-14 campaign, as it continues life on the road after splitting a pair of conference games in Southern California.

The Sun Devils are 1-7 SU all-time when taking on the top-ranked team in the country, but head coach Herb Sendek picked up two such victories during his time at NC State.

Streaking

A win on Thursday would bring Arizona within a game of tying the two longest winning streaks in program history, while the program has now been the AP No. 1 for a total of 35 weeks—the ninth-most in NCAA history.

The Wildcats are 67-11 overall and 31-7 in Pac-12 games at this venue under head coach Sean Miller, while they’ve captured their last 14 home games overall.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS as home favorites of 9.5 to 12 points, with the UNDER going 3-2 in that situation.

Man in the middle

College basketball handicappers will have an interest in backing the road underdog, considering Sun Devils center Jordan Bachynski’s NCAA-best 78 blocks are more than 274 Division I teams.

Bachynski (12.7) joins Jahii Carson (18.1) and Jermaine Marshall (15.6) as the three players on the roster averaging double figures offensively.

Defense and rebounding

The Wildcats have a simple recipe for success—get after it on the defensive end and win the rebounding battle.

Arizona ranks fourth nationally in allowing just 56.0 points per game, while it has won the rebounding battle in 16 of 17 contests.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Wildcats for their free college basketball picks, as the favorite has covered the number in four of the last five meetings in this rivalry.

College Basketball Pick: Arizona Wildcats -11.5

comment here