ASU took NCAA tournament seeding hit with loss to Oregon State
Arizona State realistically won’t miss the NCAA Tournament.
By almost every metric used by the NCAA Tournament Selection committee, the Sun Devils are still a top-50 team, buoyed by a 12-0 nonconference schedule that is enough to survive a 7-9 conference record so far.
But ASU suffered its worst loss of the year with two regular season games left. Falling on Saturday at Oregon State, 79-75, the Sun Devils continue playing with volatility.
According to BracketMatrix.com, which compiles NCAA Tournament bracket predictions from across the web, ASU is a No. 9 seed, while ESPN’s Joe Lunardi lists Arizona State as a No. 10 seed. Several other amateur brackets list the Sun Devils as an 11-seed.
There is a land mine in their path prior to the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas.
Head coach Bobby Hurley’s team hosts Cal (8-21) — the worst team in the Pac-12 — on Thursday before hosting Stanford on Saturday.
By the selection committee’s new quadrant evaluation system, suffering a second quadrant 3 loss and second of the season at such a crucial time could weigh down the Sun Devils. On the other hand, two wins could shoot ASU up the Pac-12 standings and make for an easier conference tournament run in Las Vegas.
The latter would help ASU enter the NCAA Tournament as the higher seed in their first game — it’s probably a necessity at this point.
This is how the selection committee is be viewing ASU’s resume with two regular season games left.
With the expectation ASU doesn’t lose two remaining home games and its first Pac-12 Tournament game to head into Selection Sunday on a six-game skid, Hurley’s team should make the tournament.
But playing in a conference that most analysts believe will only garner three March Madness bids — ASU has only one win against either of those other teams (USC) — the timing and trajectory of this season puts Arizona State in a vulnerable spot when it comes to projecting a long NCAA Tournament run.
The question then becomes: What have the Sun Devils done lately, and does that affect the selection committee at all?