ASU basketball arrives at NCAA Competition, to play Nevada in First Four
Under Bobby Hurley’s leadership, the Arizona State Sun Devils have qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the third time.
After going 22-12 overall this season, the Sun Devils will face Nevada in the First Four for the No. 11 seed in the West Region.
The matchup is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. in Dayton, where the Sun Devils competed in 2018 and 2019 First Four matchups.
The winner of Nevada vs. ASU will face TCU, which received the sixth seed.
The block is completed by No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 14 Grand Canyon, with Kansas being the region’s top seed.
Hurley and ASU ended the regular season and the Pac-12 Tournament with three victories in six games. Two of those victories came against NCAA tournament teams in Arizona and USC, both of whom won in the Quad 1 tournament.
To Hurley’s dismay, ASU’s victories over Michigan, VCU, Arizona, USC, and Creighton placed the Sun Devils at No. 66 in the NET rating.
After ASU’s victory over Arizona in February, Hurley told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta, “I don’t think for whatever reason we are (given our due), and that’s beyond our control.”
“We went to Brooklyn, across-country to play a top-20 team in Michigan and more than handled our business,” the head coach added. “Then you figure you’re scheduling Creighton, a top-10 team, so you feel like you’re doing your part in terms of building a schedule. I guess we should have had a Big 12 (team) on our schedule. That’s my bad.”
After learning the news, Hurley stated to the media that he thought ASU was completely deserving of the selection.
Since its road trip through Northern California following its loss to Oregon on Feb. 4 and his belief that ASU was playing for the season, he was right. After the defeat, Arizona State won four of its next five games.
At 70.5 points per game, the Sun Devils finished the season 133rd in KenPom’s adjusted offense and 197th in scoring. In KenPom’s adjusted defense, ASU ranked 28th.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology revealed that ASU was the last Big Dance team going into Selection Sunday. When the region was announced, Hurley claimed there was chaos at his house.
“Really excited for the kids, they wanted it badly,” Hurley said. “I think we put together the type of season that was more than deserving of this opportunity and it was just a lot of joy and happiness in my house today. It was great to see the guys get to celebrate all the work they put in.”
This season, Nevada went 22-10, but before the Big Dance, it lost its last three games, including an overtime loss to San Jose State in the Mountain West quarterfinals.
With 17.3 points per game, guard Jarod Lucas, who was named the conference’s best newcomer, has been it’s leading scorer this season. He has played ASU before, having spent three years at Oregon State.
Before making the move to the Valley, ASU starters Desmond Cambridge Jr. and Warren Washington each spent two seasons at Nevada.
Arizona State lost to Syracuse in the First Four in 2018 before defeating St. John’s to advance past Dayton the following year.