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Davis: ASU’s loss to Princeton one of the worst defeats in college hoops

(AP Photo/Matt York)

March Madness is right around the corner.

The then-ranked No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils (13-5, 4-2) looked like a shoe-in for the NCAA tournament early on in the season as they put together a 8-2 record before knocking off No. 1 Kansas.

Momentum was building and it was evident.

But that quickly shifted when the Princeton Tigers came to Wells Fargo Arena.

After taking down the top team in the country, ASU faltered in their following game, losing 80-76 to Princeton.

Since then, the Sun Devils have gone 4-2, but the team hasn’t displayed that dominant force they had to begin the season.

With March 19 quickly approaching, The Athletic’s Seth Davis took note of the recent struggles, listing the loss to the Tigers as one of the worst in college hoops this year.

This loss came in Tempe one week after the Sun Devils had knocked off then No. 1 Kansas at home. They have yet to recover their mojo.

Things didn’t get better as they dropped the following game by double digits against Utah.

Some of the woes could be attributed to the play of Luguentz Dort and Remy Martin.

Martin, who was coming off an injury to start the year and taking on a bigger role as a starter, hasn’t been as consistent as he was last season.

Through 16 games, the guard failed to record double digit points six times.

Dort, whose offense was rolling to start the season, has since cooled off.

After dropping more than 23 points in four of his first eight outings, Dort hasn’t seen more than 16 points in a game, including a six-point effort against the Tigers.

And while they made the list for one of the worst losses, the Sun Devils had to have made the best wins list, right?

Wrong.

Even though they took out top-ranked Kansas, the Sun Devils were left off the top wins list. Gonzaga’s win over Zion Williamson and Duke and Furman’s 76-68 victory over Villanova were two that cracked the top 5.

ASU looks to be trending upward, however, taking down Oregon State — which had yet to lose a conference game — and Oregon in their last two games.

“Oregon’s kinda been the bully of the [Pac-12] the last couple years,” ASU head coach Bobby Hurley told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday. “They’ve gotten to Final Fours, they’ve been near the top of standings.

“We feel like we’re making a move in the league and [the Ducks game] was a key game for us in terms of seeing where we stand right now.”

Looking south, the Arizona Wildcats were picked as one of the five teams on bubble watch.

The Wildcats are 55th in the NET rankings but have only one top 50 win. They’ll be rooting hard for Iowa State to do well in the Big 12 since they beat by Cyclones on Nov. 19 in the Bahamas. They only have one game against Washington, which is the only Pac-12 team in the NET top 50, which will happen Feb. 7 in Tucson.

The Wildcats currently sit 14-5 with a 5-1 conference record, with their only loss in Pac-12 play coming against Oregon.

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