Belmont Bruins at Arizona State Sun Devils
When: Nov. 16, 2015, 10 p.m. Eastern
Where: Wells Fargo Arena Tempe, Ariz.
Watch: PAC-12 Network
Last Time They Met: 12/22/2000. ASU won 92-44.
Players to watch (Belmont): G-Craig Bradshaw
Players to watch (Arizona State): F-Tra Holder
2015-16 records: Belmont (1-0); Arizona State (0-1)
A Look at Arizona State
For the second game in a row, the Bruins face a team coached by a former Duke Blue Devil and Coach K protege. Former Buffalo Bulls coach Bobby Hurley comes into his second game as coach of the Sun Devils after an opening loss to the Sacramento State Hornets, and is looking for redemption against Rick Byrd's Bruins. Hurley called his Devils' 66-63 loss to the Hornets "an embarrassing loss for us." Shooting 15-for-27 from the charity stripe ultimately helped lead ASU to its downfall.
Tra Holder led the way for ASU in that one, scoring 17 points for a squad that finished just 2-for-17 from beyond the arc, which was certainly a bigger part of the Devils' problems. The game was a back-and-forth affair in which Hurley's team just couldn't make enough defensive stops in clutch time to win the home game. Holder, a PAC-12 all-freshman team selection last year will be expected to lead the way along with the help of 6-10, 240 lb., Eric Jacobson who scored 12 points on Friday.
Bruins Victorious Last Time Out
Don't call it an upset. Also don't call it a "buy game." Belmont winning on the road against a Big East foe in Marquette should be of no surprise to anyone who watched this Bruins team play last year. In is first game of the year, Belmont picked up big contributions from the likes of Evan Bradds and Craig Bradshaw, with the two of them posting 42 points total.
Freshman guard Kevin McClain impressed with 10 points in his first collegiate action and made a couple of threes. Per usual, the Bruins shot their fill from 3-point land, going 12-for-34 in the game (35.3 percent). Belmont had 24 bench points which came entirely from McClain and big man Nick Smith, which helped prove a vital difference.
Matchup to Watch
Though the matchup of Evan Bradds and ASU's Jacobson is noteworthy, this game will likely be won based on shooting. If the Sun Devils are able to find their jump stroke with the likes of Holder and Gerry Blakes that is. Taylor Barnette will look to find his own stroke after scoring just 5 points Friday.
So your matchup to watch is Craig Bradshaw vs. Tra Holder, but on a broader scale, the battle of the guards in this game. Bradshaw will look to get on a role after a bit of an inefficient opening night despite scoring 18 points (6-for-17 shooting).
Final score prediction: Belmont 74, Arizona State 66