ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Lunardi places ASU basketball in ‘Last 4 In’ for March Madness bracket

Jan 15, 2023, 11:00 AM

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Arizona State Sun Devils basketball team is off to one of its best starts in school history, racing out to a 15-3 overall record and 6-1 in the conference.

Despite ASU’s best start since the 1980-81 season, ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi believes the Sun Devils are still a fringe tournament team as a “Last Four In” participant.

Lunardi, once again, has ASU going to Dayton for the play-in game, this time as a No. 11 seed against Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers.

Although the article was posted on Friday morning prior to the Sun Devils’ win over Oregon State on the road, it paints the team in a less comfortable state than previously assumed.

ASU has notable victories over Michigan, Creighton and Colorado with two matchups against No. 7 UCLA and one against No. 9 Arizona remaining.

The Sun Devils have one crushing defeat — on the road against Texas Southern, a team sitting at 4-14 on the year — but one of their three losses was a hard-fought game against then-No. 5 Arizona, something that matters come March.

ASU reached No. 25 in the country before Christmas before dropping two straight to San Francisco and Arizona.

Bobby Hurley and Co. will get a crack at the top spot in the conference against UCLA on Thursday in Tempe for a chance to break out of the “Last Four In.”

Lunardi has Arizona and UCLA as No. 2 seeds, but other than that, the Sun Devils would be the third and only Pac-12 team in the tournament.

The only conference of the nine with at-large bids on Lunardi’s bracket with fewer teams in the field than the Pac-12 is the West Coast Conference.

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