ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

For ASU’s sake: A quick look at the 9th seeds in Pac-12 Tournament history

Mar 7, 2018, 9:11 AM | Updated: 11:48 am
Arizona State forward Mickey Mitchell dunks against California during the second half of an NCAA co...
Arizona State forward Mickey Mitchell dunks against California during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

When asked about his team’s seeding at this year’s Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, ASU head coach Bobby Hurley deadpanned his response.

“I think we’re one of the best No. 9 seeds in the history of the Pac-12,” the third-year coach said before admitting the conference schedule was rough on his team.

“We didn’t run through the schedule the way we needed to.”

The Sun Devils, who wrapped up their non-conference slate at 12-0, found themselves ranked third in the nation when Pac-12 play started. ASU proceeded to go 8-10 against conference foes, which has them as the No. 9 seed heading to Vegas and facing eighth-seeded Colorado.

How exactly have teams in that spot fared historically?

Not well, especially in the last four years.

In 2017, Stanford was the No. 9 seed with a 14-16 overall record and 6-12 mark in the Pac-12. They lost to eighth-seeded ASU 98-88 in overtime.

The year prior, the Cardinal were again in that seeding slot, and got run out of the gym, 91-68, by Washington.

In 2015, ninth-seeded Washington State (7-11 in conference) lost to Cal, 84-59 and in 2014, UW’s 9-9 record earned the Huskies a 9-seed — and a 67-61 first-round loss to 8 seed Utah.

You’d have to go back to 2013 to find the last time a ninth seed won that opening game of the Pac-12 Tournament, and incidentally, it was Arizona State. The Devils went overtime to defeat eighth-seeded Stanford, 89-88, behind Jahii Carson’s 34 points. ASU would lose the next day to top-seeded UCLA.

In 2012, the first year of the current 12-team format, ninth-seeded Oregon State actually won two games, beating ninth-seeded Washington State and top-seeded Washington before falling to Arizona in the semifinals.

In all, ninth-seeded teams are 3-6 in the Pac-12 tourney format, which doesn’t bode well for the Sun Devils. The silver lining is, most experts believe that ASU won’t need a deep tournament run in Vegas to secure an NCAA Tournament bid based on the nation’s best non-conference résumé.

The action gets started Wednesday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Sun Devils and Buffaloes will tip off 1:00 and you can hear the contest on ESPN 620 AM with Tim Healey and Kyle Dodd on the call.

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For ASU’s sake: A quick look at the 9th seeds in Pac-12 Tournament history