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ASU basketball excited about ‘new season’ as team reaches NCAA Tournament

TEMPE, Ariz. — The drought is over.

Arizona State’s invitation to March Madness was received Sunday, ending a four-year absence in the NCAA Tournament.

The bid was anticipated, but was not formally announced until more than half the 68-team field had been revealed during CBS’ Selection Show.

“Anytime you don’t see your name pop up right away, it’s just nerve-racking,” center Jordan Bachynski said. “I mean, there’s always in the back of your mind, ‘Do we make it? Do we make it?’ But (there’s) no better feeling than seeing it pop up.”

ASU (21-11, 10-8) received a No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region.

The Sun Devils will play the No. 7 seed Texas of the Big 12 on Thursday, March 20, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

“When our name went up on the screen, there was tremendous joy and excitement in the room,” said head coach Herb Sendek, who is 6-1 in opening round games in the tournament in his career. “As a coach, being able to stand in the back and watch our guys celebrate like that is about as good as it gets.”

ASU was the sixth and final team selected out of the Pac-12, joining Arizona, UCLA, Oregon, Colorado and Stanford.

It is the Sun Devils’ 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and the second under Sendek, who has a history with Texas head coach Rick Barnes; he was Barnes’ assistant for one season at Providence.

“He’s somebody who I consider a great friend — somebody who is not only a great basketball coach, but even a better person,” Sendek said. “He’s the kind of man that if you have a son, that’s who you want him to play for. He’s that good of a person.”

ASU goes into the tournament having lost three straight — and five of seven overall.

If the Sun Devils were to advance, they would meet the winner of No. 2 Michigan and 15th-seeded Wofford in the third round on Saturday.

“Anything can happen now,” point guard Jahii Carson said. “This is basically a new season for us. We just press reset. We had a rocky road, but it’s a new start for us. We’re ready.”