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ASU basketball coach Herb Sendek: We aren’t taking NIT opponent Detroit lightly

LISTEN: Herb Sendek, ASU basketball coach

The ASU men’s basketball team might not be going dancing this March, but Herb Sendek and Co. plan to make the most of their berth in the NIT.

Wednesday night, the Sun Devils host Detroit at Wells Fargo Arena in the first round of the tournament, and Sendek said his team won’t take the Titans lightly.

“They were in the NCAA tournament last year, and the one thing that really stands out as you look at their team is their experience,” Sendek told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo Tuesday. “They have a bunch of fourth or fifth-year guys on their team.”

Detroit had a fairly impressive regular season, going 20-11 overall and 12-4 in the Horizon League. The Titans’ record is even more noteworthy given the fact they played a tough non-conference schedule that featured games against Akron, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Temple.

While Sendek noted Detroit’s experience-laden roster, for the Sun Devils to win Wednesday night, he believes they’ll need to play a stout game defensively.

“They’re also a team that’s eighth in the nation in scoring,” said Sendek. “They do it in a variety of ways, but certainly making over seven threes a game, it’s an area we really need to address. A lot like Stanford, they’re going to have four sometimes five three-point shooters on the floor.”

Although ASU will have its hands full guarding against the Titans’ offensive attack, the tougher task might be defending against the disappointment of not making the NCAA tournament.

Still, Sendek said the message is a simple one heading into the NIT.

“How can we not be motivated?” said Sendek of his message to his players. “We have another great opportunity, we get to play tomorrow night on ESPNU in front our own family, friends and ASU community. How can we not get excited to play?”