The early season college basketball events roll on tonight with the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center. Michigan will be taking on Pitt in the opening game but the game that follows them is the one we’ll be focusing on today. The VCU Rams will be playing the Arizona State Sun Devils and I think VCU is the best bet for the game. We’ll preview the game and then get into why you should be all over the Rams tonight.
VCU enters tonight with a 2-0 record while the Sun Devils enter with a 2-1 record and are coming off an upset loss to Texas Southern. Arizona State narrowly escaped an upset loss in the opening game of the season as well so it’s clear the Sun Devils are another disappointing Pac-12 team.
The Sun Devils enter tonight only shooting 39.5% from the field and have even struggled to make free throws this year as well. ASU has been led by Frankie Collins on the offensive end as he enters tonight averaging 16.3 points and 5 assists per game.
Aside from Collins, the Sun Devils have not been able to get anything going on the offensive end, which could be a problem tonight against a VCU team that only allows an average of 55 points a game.
The Rams have played two inferior opponents so far this season but they have been efficient on both ends of the floor. VCU is shooting 46.1% from the field and has been led by Brandon Johns Jr. and Adrian “Ace” Baldwin Jr. on the offensive end. Baldwin Jr. has been the leader on the defensive end as he enters tonight averaging 5 steals per game.
VCU is all about defense and rebounding which, was the exact recipe Texas Southern used to upset the Sun Devils. The Rams will need to continue to improve on the offensive end of the floor if they want to keep this hot start to the season going.
The Rams opened this game as -1.5 point favorites but that number has jumped to -4.5 at the time of this article's release. I think even with the number moving three points that VCU is the team to back in this match-up for a few reasons.
The first reason is Marcus Bagley who is arguably the Sun Devils' best all-around player, will not be playing tonight so an already struggling offense will be without an important piece. The loss of Bagley makes scoring a really tough task tonight against this VCU defense.
VCU does all the little things they need to do in order to get a victory and these are all things head coach Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils have not done this year. As long as VCU has an average night shooting they should be able to shut down this ASU offense enough to win and cover.