At the halfway point in the season, the Arizona State men’s basketball team’s chances of making the NCAA tournament were looking up.
Since their 14-2 start to the season, the Sun Devils have gone 6-6 and are on the brink of blowing their opportunity of making ‘the big dance’ for just the third time in ten seasons.
ASU has its work cut out for them in their last three road games to finish the season.
Wednesday night begins their three-game trip, as the Sun Devils start off against the Bruins, who have won four of their last five. UCLA (20-7, 10-4 Pac-12) is also making a late season push towards getting into tournament and is being led by freshman Shabazz Muhammad. The Sun Devils defeated the Bruins at home on Jan. 26, 78-60 behind Jordan Bachynski’s 22 points and Carrick Felix’s 23.
Coach Herb Sendek will then take his team south for a matchup with the Trojans on Saturday. USC took the Sun Devils into overtime back in January, but fell 98-93. The Trojans are 12-15 and 7-7 in the Pac-12, but have gone 5-5 since interim coach Bob Cantu took over for Kevin O’Neill on Jan. 13.
The final game of the season will be against No. 11 UA at McKale Memorial Center. ASU stuck around in the first meeting between the teams, as the Devils were down just three at the half. But the Wildcats (23-4, 11-4 Pac-12) ran away in the second, outscoring the Sun Devils 42-28 to win 71-54 in Tempe.
As much as the game may mean for the nationally ranked Wildcats, it could potentially pop or seal the bubble ASU is sitting on.