ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

ESPN’s Jay Bilas has ASU ‘scratching for at-large berth’

Feb 14, 2019, 2:15 PM
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)...
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

ESPN’s college basketball analyst Jay Bilas released his rankings of the top 68 teams in the country as of Valentine’s Day.

Bilas says Arizona State has a high rate of volatility, but the team can also beat anyone when they can shoot from the perimeter, while also defending it.

The former Duke center broke down the 68 teams into five tears.

He ranked the Sun Devils (16-8, 7-5) as No. 51 overall and placed them into the fifth tier labeled as “scratching for at-large berths.”

Bilas describes the fifth tier as at-large teams that have losing conference records and are difficult to compare to mid-major teams that have better records but aren’t necessarily better teams.

And although ASU doesn’t have a losing conference record as of Valentine’s Day, the team’s inconsistent Pac-12 play gives Sun Devils fans reason to worry.

In the last three games, Bobby Hurley’s side lost to Washington State (10-14, 3-8) at home, handed Washington (19-5, 10-1) its first Pac-12 loss of the season, but then lost to Colorado (15-9, 6-6) on the road.

Arizona State seems to have a knack for following up a big win with a loss, as the team has lost their next game after beating Kansas, Arizona and Washington all at home.

The final six games of the season include three of the top five teams in the Pac-12 in Utah (13-10, 7-4), Oregon State (15-8, 7-4) and Oregon (15-9, 6-5).

ASU finishes the regular season with three consecutive road games at Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona (14-10, 5-6).

The Sun Devils are 3-4 on the road (2-3 in Pac-12) compared to 11-3 at home (5-2 in Pac-12).

On the bright side, ASU has only lost two games in a row once this season, but not in conference play (Princeton and Utah both at home).

A strong finish to the season and good showing in the Pac-12 Tournament might be enough to get the Hurley’s side into the dance, but inconsistent play down the homestretch will likely have the Sun Devils on the outside looking in.

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