ASU men's basketball unsure but optimistic of NCAA Tournament hopes following Stanford loss
LAS VEGAS — For the next two days, the ASU men’s basketball team awaits its postseason destination, but the Sun Devils didn’t exactly make the best last impression they wanted to make.
After losing to Stanford in the second round of the Pac-12 Tournament, the Sun Devils (21-11, 10-8 Pac-12) are on a three-game losing streak and have lost five out of their last seven games.
Because of its struggles, the team now feels uncertain of whether the NCAA Tournament selection committee will include ASU in the Big Dance when it reveals the bracket Sunday.
Redshirt sophomore point guard Jahii Carson said he has no idea where the team may end up. Senior center Jordan Bachynski admitted after Thursday’s loss that he was feeling anxious about the team’s future.
“I’m going to be praying on Selection Sunday and every day leading up to it,” Bachynski said. “Hopefully, our resume is what it needs to be, and I’m just going to have faith that we’re in.
“I hate that there is nothing that I can do to change my fate, and that is the worst feeling. But you know what? We worked hard all year and I feel like we put together a pretty good resume. I’m going to have faith that we’re in.”
Even with ASU’s struggles, national pundits still don’t believe it’s enough to remove the Sun Devils out of the picture. As of Friday, ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi and CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm projected the Sun Devils as a No. 10 seed in the East region. USA Today still ranks ASU as a No. 9 seed.
ASU finished the season with 21 wins and ranked 42nd in the RPI. The Sun Devils’ signature wins were over UA (first in the RPI), Oregon (28th), Colorado (33rd) and Stanford (38th), and their worst loss was against Miami (FL) (110th) on Dec. 1.
Most people expect six Pac-12 teams — UA, UCLA, Oregon, ASU, Colorado and either California or Stanford — will be included in the NCAA Tournament.
“If you listen to all of the pundits, there’s every reason to feel confident that we have nine wins over top-100 teams, we’ve played in a great league and obviously, we have to wait like everyone else until Sunday,” ASU coach Herb Sendek said.
No matter where ASU ends up for its postseason tournament, the Sun Devils morale is at an all-time low, and the team knows it must regain its confidence in order to compete for the rest of the year.
“Our guys don’t feel good right now,” Sendek said. “We haven’t played our best, and it would be disingenuous of me to say that they’re not hurt or disappointed of the way they’ve played.”
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