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Friday night action in the Baoghan Sports Center will feature a season-opening fifth annual Pac-12 China Game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Colorado Buffaloes. Arizona State had a good run last year finishing 23-11 before making a first-round exit in the tournament. Colorado looks to improve after finishing 23-13 and just missing the big tournament and clinching an NIT bid before losing in the quarterfinals against Texas. Colorado opens as five-point favorites and the game will be viewable on ESPN 2. Tip is set for 10:35 PM ET. Both teams would love to leave Shanghai with an all-important season-opening win.
Sun Devils Primed Once AgainArizona State coach Bobby Hurley has got to be scratching his head after last season. After finishing 12-6 in conference play with one of his most talented teams to date, he made a first-round exit from the NCAA tournament at the hands of Buffalo 91-74. Coach Hurley had the task of replacing the combination of Luguentz Dort and Zylan Cheatham. The pairing combined to score 28.2 points per game for this Sun Devils squad a year ago. He brings in a trio of freshmen headed by program's all-time leading scorer Eddie House's son, Jaelen House. He was a four-star recruit who should be game ready from day one.
The Sun Devils return three starters who combined to score 32.6 points per game a year removed. Guard Remy Martin will lead the way and he will be healthy this season after playing through a groin injury towards the end of last year. Senior guard Rob Edwards showed flashed of superstardom last year, most notably when he dropped 28 in a conference game against Utah. Forward Romello White is a good stretch forward who shot 59.8% from the field during the '18-'19 campaign. The team adds transfer forward Andre Allen who scored 13.3 points per game to go with 8.4 rebounds last season for Arizona Western. They also bring in the number two junior college recruit in Khalid Thomas, who picked Arizona State over conference rival Oregon.
Big Expectations For BuffaloesCoach Tad Boyle returns plenty of experience this year, which should play key to their success. Colorado returns all five starters and has no freshman listed on the roster. Junior college transfer Maddox Daniels will be the only newcomer in this new campaign for the Buffaloes. He brings a much-needed perimeter threat to a team that was last in the conference in three-pointers a year ago. Daniels shot 43.1% from the floor with Florida Southwestern State and made 88 threes in 33 games.
“You don’t know if you’re going to see man, zone, you’ve just got to be ready for it.” 🗣️ @CoachTadBoyle— Colorado Men's Basketball (@CUBuffsMBB) November 6, 2019
Even with an opponent switch & no scouting report, we got the job done in Chinese exhibition game.
Up next: @SunDevilHoops #Pac12ChinaGame pic.twitter.com/QSUDH1taGU
Junior guard McKinley Wright IV will lead the push for Colorado after having off-season surgery to repair a shoulder tear. He averaged 13 points and 4.8 assists a game before going down. If he can cut back on the copious amount of turnovers he committed last year, then he will be one of the nation's best guards this year. Senior Lucas Siewart looks to reclaim his starting job this season after being benched for sophomore Evan Battey after a struggling season. The two forwards scored a combined 17 points per game and grabbed 9.4 rebounds last year. This Buffaloes squad will rely on their experience to give this team the boost they need as they search for the school's first NCAA tournament bid since 2016.
Trends for this game provided by covers.com
- Buffaloes are 9-4 ATS their last 13 conference games
- Buffaloes are 11-5 ATS their last 16 games overall
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I'll buy into all the hype in Boulder. Colorado returns their whole team except for one player and replaced him with a much-needed perimeter threat in Maddox Daniels to a team that lacked a three shooter. I expect that to push the Buffaloes over the hump and find their way back to the big dance this year, starting with a cover here. Colorado's defense was much better as a whole than Arizona State's a year ago and their offense brings enough experience to get the job done. I love what coach Tad Boyle is doing in Boulder and I expect them to pull away late in this opener and start their season off on the right foot.
Prediction: Colorado Buffaloes -5
Full-Game Total Pick
No total has been released as of writing, but I will play the under no matter what that number may be. This is a tough opening game for these two schools being a conference game and I expect this game to be a slow, sluggish match in which both schools struggle to get going. Both schools will indeed be hungry for the postseason, but I expect the players to try and do too much and not let the game come to them. I don't see either team scoring much over 60 a piece. I expect this total to open around 145 given both school's ability to score and their experience, however, I don't expect these schools to get off to a fast start to the new campaign as it is always tough to open against a conference opponent that knows how your team works.