ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Last team in: ESPN’s Lunardi has Sun Devils on fringe before facing Wildcats

Mar 10, 2023, 12:02 PM

Desmond Cambridge Jr, ASU...

Desmond Cambridge Jr. #4 of the Arizona State Sun Devils and Reese Dixon-Waters #2 of the USC Trojans react after the Trojans turned the ball over in the second half of a quarterfinal game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena on March 09, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

When they say it’s for all the marbles, previewers of Arizona State’s third men’s basketball matchup of the year against rival Arizona mean it.

For the Sun Devils, an NCAA Tournament berth could hinge on the result of a Pac-12 Tournament semifinals game Friday night.

Before any college basketball games tipped on Friday morning, ASU was listed by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi as the last team in the field of 68.

Notable bubble teams still alive in their respective conference tournaments include Clemson (7:30 p.m. MST vs. Virginia) and Utah State (10 p.m. MST vs. Boise State). The former is the second team left out of Lunardi’s bracket, while the latter is one spot ahead as the second-to-last team in the field as of Friday morning.

Clemson taking down the No. 29 team in NET rankings would be significant, as would Utah State dropping No. 26 Boise State.

Neither win would pull the weight as if ASU for the second time this year could drop Arizona, which sits 11th in NET after advancing past Stanford to open the Pac-12 Tournament.

But Utah State (24-7, No. 18) NET has a big advantage over Clemson (23-9, No. 51) and Arizona State (22-11, No. 60).

After the Sun Devils defeated USC late Thursday night, their NET rating got a five-spot boost.

Fifty-one of 93 brackets tracked by BracketMatrix.com has ASU in the field. That averages out to an 11-seed.

The Sun Devils face the Wildcats at 9:30 p.m. MST at 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com. ESPN will carry the game on television.

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Last team in: ESPN’s Lunardi has Sun Devils on fringe before facing Wildcats