The Sun Devils will dance in Dayton.
The NCAA selection committee said Sunday afternoon ASU's 22-12 campaign was enough to earn it a March Madness bid and squeeze the team into a Wednesday First Four game against the Nevada Wolf Pack in Dayton, Ohio.
"I had a feeling in my heart and inside, even though we were on the bubble, that we had done enough and that we would be rewarded for it," said Sun Devils head coach Bobby Hurley Sunday afternoon.
The nod to the Sun Devils culminates the end of an up-and-down season earning Hurley his third opportunity in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament. This is the 17th time in program history ASU has made the NCAA Tournament. Hurley and the team celebrated Sunday afternoon by jumping into the pool outside his home.
Entering the selection show, Hurley's Sun Devils sat as the last team in the bracket on ESPN's Joe Lunardi's 2023 NCAA Tournament bracketology and on only 74 of the 112 brackets on the bracket matrix. Squads in the hunt included Oklahoma State, Clemson, and Vanderbilt.
ASU's case for a tournament bid included going 5-1 at neutral sites and picking up victories against VCU, Michigan, Creighton, Oregon State and USC.
"When you play that well against a good team like that (USC), in addition to your numbers and your quality wins, and your quad one wins, you then pass the eye test too, and I think that was the case in that game," Hurley said of ASU's late-season push.
Wins against Arizona on the road and USC in the Pac-12 tournament at the end of the season likely played a role in the decision to get ASU into the dance. The Sun Devils' Pac-12 tournament semifinal appearance, was only the fourth time in program history the team had advanced to that round.
READ MORE: ASU defeats USC 77-72 with best offensive play of season, moves to tournament semifinal
"We're all in, assuming that what we've done, again, in a power conference, winning 22 games and losing 12," said Hurley after the conference tournament loss to Arizona Friday. "We're not a team that lost 14 or 15 games and didn't even reach 20 wins. I mean, that's a lot of wins and a lot of good wins to deny us of that. So that's where our focus is right now."
Sun Devil starters senior guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. and senior center Warren Washington will likely play against their former team Wednesday. Both players spent time with the Wolf Pack before transferring to ASU.
ASU entered the NCAA Tournament in 2018 and 2019 as an 11 seed. It lost to Syracuse by four in 2018 and in 2019, beat St. Johns in the First Four, eventually falling to Buffalo in the First Round in Oklahoma.
The Sun Devils will play Wednesday in Dayton. Tipoff is scheduled at 9:10 p.m. EST.
Senior sports reporter Alex Wakefield contributed to the reporting of this story.
Editor's note: This story was updated on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 6:45 p.m. to include additional quotes from Hurley after Selection Sunday, Wednesday's tipoff time and other details about the Pac-12 tournament and the program's records. This is a developing story and may be updated again.
Edited by Walker Smith and Piper Hansen.
Reach the reporters at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @AlfredS_III on Twitter.
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