Kansas State and Arizona State both bring perfect 4-0 records into their Thanksgiving night matchup in the Continental Tire Invitational at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. And if things go the way Wildcats coach Bruce Weber hopes in the tournament that also features 15th-ranked Xavier and George Washington, his squad might be doing a little swimming in Sin City.
“You win, go jump in the Bellagio fountains on Friday,” Weber told his team according to kansas.com. Before the folks at Las Vegas Metro Police Department gets too bent out of shape, it should be noted that Weber was only joking. Still, Weber said a big goal for his squad, which returns three starters from a team that went 21-14 and won an NCAA Tournament game over wake Forest, is to win a holiday tourney, something they haven’t done since 2011 when they claimed the Diamond Head Classic. “We have talked about it since the spring when we knew this tournament was coming,” Weber said. “One of our first goals, one of the major things on the schedule, was getting ready for this tournament and seeing if we can win this thing.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FS1
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (4-0): The Sun Devils are 4-0 for the first time since the 2013-14 season and have scored 90 points in all four games, the first time since 1975 that ASU has accomplished that feat. Returning guards Tra Holder and Shannon Evans II are off to hot starts with Holder averaging a team-best 22.3 points, 6.3 assists and 1.8 steals while also shooting 48.3 percent from 3-point range while Evans is second in scoring (20.3) and assists (6.0) while shooting 46.7 percent beyond the arc. Freshman forward Romello White (18.3 points), lanky 6-10 junior college transfer De’Quon Lake (14.5) and senior guard Kodi Justice (12.3) also are averaging in double figures with White also grabbing a team-leading 10.7 rebounds per game.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE (4-0): The Wildcats have won their first four games by an average of 22 points and are allowing just 50.8 points which ranks third nationally. Four players average between 11.3 and 12.8 points, led by 6-10 junior forward Dean Wade (12.8 points, 5.3 rebounds), who has also connected on 5-of-7 3-pointers (71.4 percent). Returning starting guards Barry Brown (12.3 points) and Kamau Stokes (11.8) and sophomore forward Xavier Sneed (11.3) also are averaging in double digits.
1. Holder and Evans are a combined 28-of-59 from 3-point range.
2. Kansas State leads the nation in field goal percentage defense (30.8).
3. Lake, who has a 7-foot-2 wingspan and 36-inch vertical that he puts to good use on dunks, is shooting 82.1 percent (23-of-28) from the floor.
PREDICTION: Arizona State 77, Kansas State 73