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ESPN’s Lunardi projects top-four seed for Sun Devils in NCAA Tournament

Arizona State forward Mickey Mitchell reacts after dunking the ball against Longwood in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Dec 19, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona State defeated Longwood 95-61. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

A few months ago, if you were talking about Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State Sun Devils as a team to make the NCAA Tournament, you were using words like “sleeper” and “darkhorse.”

Oh, how things have changed.

Beginning the season 11-0 with a chance to make it 12-0 against Pacific Friday afternoon, the Sun Devils are ranked No. 3 in the country in the latest AP Poll.

With that comes the near-certainty of the Sun Devils not only making the NCAA Tournament but drawing a high seed as well.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi listed his biggest surprises as far as bracket projections go and there’s no other team that compares to the Sun Devils, according to Lunardi.

This isn’t even close. The Sun Devils were an invisible No. 100 on the seed list when the season began, climbing all the way to No. 4 overall and a No. 1 seed in this week’s projection. ASU is even higher in some rankings, but the aggregate data used for Bracketology suggests at least some regression is on the way.

Regardless, Arizona State is arguably the best team-based story in college basketball this season. The Sun Devils are no worse than the second-best team in a disappointing Pac-12, meaning a gaudy record and favorable NCAA seed are pretty much inevitable.

Lunardi notes the worse than expected Pac-12, which surprisingly only has one team with two or fewer losses, and it’s the Sun Devils.

No. 18 Arizona lost three straight in the Bahamas and USC has lost four games in non-conference play after being ranked No. 10 in the preseason edition of the AP Poll.

So, where does that put ASU on a bracket come March? Sun Devil fans will be happy to hear it’s a strong seed projection.

Projection: The Sun Devils will be dancing with a top four NCAA seed and opening tournament play in San Diego.

Arizona State starts conference play on Dec. 30 against the rival Wildcats in Tucson.

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