ASU men’s basketball is going dancing for the first time since 2014. The selection committee gave the Sun Devils an at-large bid for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
The maroon and gold will compete on Wednesday evening for the No. 11 seed against the Syracuse Orange.
A win on Wednesday would catapult ASU into a Friday contest versus No. 6 seeded TCU.
Head coach Bobby Hurley and company sat right on the bubble after being bounced from the Pac-12 Tournament by the Colorado Buffaloes in the first round. The 12-point loss to Colorado was ASU’s worst loss of the season and its last chance to boost its resume.
The selection committee clearly valued the Sun Devils’ monumental wins versus No. 1 seeds Xavier University Musketeers and the University of Kansas Jayhawks over the more recent 8-10 conference record.
Victories over the Jayhawks and Musketeers along with a win over the Utah Utes rounded out ASU’s heavily weighted Quadrant-1 wins.
Nevertheless, having lost five of their last six, the Sun Devils were far from being guaranteed a spot in the Big Dance.
Heading into Sunday’s selection show, all eyes in Tempe were on Hurley’s younger brother Dan Hurley, head coach of the Rhode Island Rams.
If Rhode Island beat the Davidson Wildcats, it appeared an extra at-large spot would be in play. The Rams were bound for the tournament no matter the outcome of the game simply because of their resume.
But instead of giving hope to older brother Bobby, Dan and company fell to the Wildcats, which secured the A-10 conference for Davidson pushing Rhode Island into an at-large spot.
With another at-large spot gone it was anyone’s guess what ASU’s fate would be.
However, the Sun Devils can exhale after securing a “last-four in” position.
The last time ASU fans saw their team make the tournament was 2014, but the Sun Devils haven’t made it past the second round in more than 20 years.