NCAA Basketball Picks: Washington State +12 over Arizona State

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, January 5, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

It could be a classic case of buying low with the Washington State Cougars, as following a ghastly 25-point performance they seem like an overlay vs. Arizona State.

Coming off of a historically dreadful shooting performance looks to have the effect of making the road team undervalued Sunday evening when those Washington State Cougars (7-6, 1-2 away) pay a visit to the Arizona State Sun Devils (11-3, 8-1 home) at Wells-Fargo Arena in Tempe, AZ at 6:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Washington State as a huge underdog for this contest with the current line at +12 with odds of -106.

Washington State is coming off of a 60-25 loss to the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats, and no that is not a typo as the Cougars did indeed score 25 points in the entire game while going 9-for-45 for 20.0 percent from the field! Granted Washington State is not the best shooting team in the land, but it is not nearly as bad as it looked on Thursday night and the Cougars are not facing the number one team in the country tonight.

Yes, Arizona State is 11-3 but the Sun Devils have faced a weak schedule that is ranked only 289th on SOS, and that lack of stiff competition in non-conference play hurt in their Pac-12 opener on Thursday when they lost here at home to Washington 76-65 while shooting 38.6 percent from the field.

Washington State was 7-5 before the Arizona debacle and the Cougars faced a much more competitive non-conference slate than the Sun Devils, losing to the likes of Gonzaga, Butler and St. Joseph’s and even beating a Pomeroy Top 100 team in Purdue.

Now, the Cougars are not a good perimeter shooting team, but when they went a horrific 7-of-33 on their two-point attempts vs. Arizona, that was more of an aberration. In fact, even after that performance, Washington State is still a respectable 76th in the country in two-point shooting at 51.7 percent.

Another area where Washington State ranks well is in defensive rebounding percentage at 71.5 percent, good enough for 58th in the country. That is one key to the Cougars hanging within single-digits in this game as it matches up very well with an Arizona State weakness.

The Sun Devils have one of the better backcourts in the country, and that has gotten them by vs. some weak opponents, but they have issues up front with crashing the offensive glass, ranking a hideous 302nd in offensive rebounding percentage, and that is an obvious concern vs. the Washington State defensive rebounders as it means Arizona State should not get many second chances.

Now, ASU does rank 21st in the country in effective field goal percentage at an excellent 55.1 percent, but again that may have been partly due to its schedule as the shooting performance vs. Washington here at home is not a good sign.

Best of all this inflated spread leaves a nice margin for error as Washington State only needs to stay within a dozen points, so take the points on Sunday evening.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington State +12 (-106)