The Arizona State men’s basketball team has taken residence squarely on the bubble.
Currently 20-8 with a 9-6 record in the Pac-12, the Sun Devils have quality wins against Arkansas, UCLA, California and Colorado, who they beat twice.
At the same time, the Devils have lost to Utah, Stanford and DePaul, and has an RPI of 86.
Needless to say, their chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the second time in Herb Sendek’s tenure are tenuous.
A guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf, Sporting News college hoops writer Mike DeCourcy said the Devils have considerable work to do if they want to go dancing in March.
“In order to get in they’re going to have to finish strong, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” he said. “And you’re talking about three difficult games.”
The Sun Devils’ final three contests are on the road, as they will head to Los Angeles for dates with the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans before finishing up their regular season slate in Tucson against the Wildcats.
But the team’s slip up at home Saturday against Washington pretty much left them no choice but to not only beat USC, but win at least one of the other two games as well.
“So it really is a difficult situation for them, schedule-wise,” DeCourcy said, pointing to ASU’s RPI as something that could very well hold them back.
“If you’re that deep,” he said, “it just doesn’t happen.”
Then again, even if the Devils don’t win at least two of their final three games they could earn an invitation to the dance by wining the Pac-12 Tournament. And that, DeCourcy said, could happen.
“They’re certainly good enough to win it on a neutral floor,” he said. “I don’t think they’re quite as good as Arizona is and they’re not as dynamic as UCLA is, but I think they’re good enough to put together three good games and win that deal.”