ASU basketball reaches NCAA Tournament, to play Nevada in First Four

Mar 12, 2023, 3:32 PM | Updated: 5:23 pm

The Arizona State Sun Devils are NCAA Tournament bound for a third time under head coach Bobby Hurley.

The Sun Devils will play in the First Four against Nevada for the No. 11 seed in the West Region after going 22-12 overall this season.

The game is set for Wednesday night at 6:10 p.m. in Dayton, where the Sun Devils played in First Four matchups in 2018 and 2019.

TCU is the No. 6 seed and will face the winner of ASU vs. Nevada.

No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 14 Grand Canyon round out the block, and Kansas is the top seed in the region.

Hurley and ASU finished the regular season and Pac-12 Tournament with three wins in six games, two of those over NCAA tournament teams in Arizona and USC (both Quad 1 victories).

ASU picked up wins over Michigan, VCU, Arizona, USC and Creighton, ranking the Sun Devils at No. 66 in NET rating, much to Hurley’s dismay.

“I don’t think for whatever reason we are (given our due), and that’s beyond our control,” Hurley told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta in February after ASU’s win over Arizona.

“We went to Brooklyn, across-country to play a top-20 team in Michigan and more than handled our business,” the head coach added. “Then you figure you’re scheduling Creighton, a top-10 team, so you feel like you’re doing your part in terms of building a schedule. I guess we should have had a Big 12 (team) on our schedule. That’s my bad.”

Hurley told the media after learning the news that he felt ASU was more than worthy of the selection.

He felt that ASU was playing for its season ever since its Northern California road trip after falling to Oregon on Feb. 4. Arizona State won four of its next five games after the defeat.

The Sun Devils finished the season 133rd in KenPom’s adjusted offense and No. 197 in scoring at 70.5 points per game. ASU was 28th in KenPom’s adjusted defense.

ASU anxiously awaited on Sunday as ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology showed the squad as the last team in the Big Dance entering Selection Sunday. Hurley said there was chaos at his house when the region was announced.

“Really excited for the kids, they wanted it badly,” Hurley said. “I think we put together the type of season that was more than deserving of this opportunity and it was just a lot of joy and happiness in my house today. It was great to see the guys get to celebrate all the work they put in.”

Nevada went 22-10 this season but dropped its final three games entering the Big Dance, including an overtime defeat to San Jose State in the Mountain West quarterfinals.

Its lead scorer this season has been guard Jarod Lucas, who won the conference’s best newcomer award, at 17.3 points per game. He has experience against ASU having played three years with Oregon State.

ASU starters Desmond Cambridge Jr. and Warren Washington played two seasons each at Nevada before transferring to the Valley.

Arizona State fell to Syracuse in the First Four in 2018 before getting past Dayton the following year against St. Johns.

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