The 2K Empire Classic continues on Thanksgiving night with a matchup between the Villanova Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils. ASU and Villanova were both winners on Wednesday and now will be tasked with facing off with each other in an intriguing encounter.
‘Nova had some trouble with the Boston College Eagles on Wednesday. They wound up defeating them 76-67, but the win was not easy. They had to battle from beginning to end with some blows traded along the way. The Wildcats weren’t efficient outside or at the FT line, but did pick up a bevy of points on the interior. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl went 9-for-14 inside, and he, along with Caleb Daniels and Justin Moore were rather stupendous on 2-point tries all night.
ASU didn’t have any trouble scoring against the Rhode Island Rams. The Sun Devils put up 94 in their win over Rhody, but like ‘Nova they had trouble from long range. Still, they picked URI apart inside and also lived at the free throw line. They had a ridiculous 46 FT attempts, and converted on 34 of them. Remy Martin and Marcus Bagley — yes, relation to Marvin Bagley III — went a combined 18-for-24 from the line and Josh Christopher and Alonzo Verge went a combined 9-for-12.
If ASU’s plan of attack remains the same, ‘Nova will simply have to do everything they can to limit their trips to the line. ASU has an array of players who’ve already proven that they can draw fouls and get free opportunities. They kept Boston College from doing so, which could be noteworthy. But obviously, this will be a far different task. They also have to be better offensively, if ASU’s prodigious effort on Wednesday is any indication.
On the flip side, the Sun Devils will have to fare better defending the perimeter. Rhode Island shot an even 50 percent from beyond the arc against them Wednesday night. While ASU held on, it was one of their big weaknesses. Ironically, the other was allowing opportunities at the free throw line. Rhode Island picked up 35 free throw attempts in the game. ‘Nova didn’t get to the line much at all against BC, but things could change if the trends continue.
How to Watch
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Spread: Villanova -5.5
Moneyline: Villanova -270 | ASU +220