Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

NCAA tournament preview: No. 11 Arizona State

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Kristopher Love | 12 March, 2018, 14:28

TCU's first game will be Friday against the victor of the match-up between Arizona State and Syracuse. Arizona State has scuffled for the last two-plus months of the season. If they can beat Syracuse, they will take on #6 TCU. But the wheels came off down the stretch, as they lost five of their last six games and gave up 97 points to Colorado in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament.

The Devils were rewarded by the selection committee for strong non-conference victories over Kansas and Xavier, as well as Pac-12 wins over UCLA, USC and Utah.

The Cardinals were the highest-ranked RPI team (39), among the power conferences, to be left from the bracket, after going 5-13 against teams in Quadrant 1 and 2.

"If you look at their wins, and again we look at the teams in the tournament, we look at the caliber of wins that a team has and they had a couple of outstanding wins early", NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee Chair Bruce Rasmussen said.

Syracuse was in jeopardy of heading back to the NIT after producing just four Quadrant 1 wins and awful losses to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, but the Orange's 18th-ranked strength of schedule and late wins over Louisville, Miami, and Clemson were enough to convince the committee.

ASU made the Tournament as an at-large team despite finishing the season with 11 losses in its final 19 games.

The Sun Devils, who were sweating it out Sunday after Davidson upset Dan Hurley's Rhode Island Rams in the A-10 Championship Game knocking a team out of the field, made the field of 68 and will play the Syracuse Orange in the First Four Wednesday night. The Wildcats play #13 Buffalo in Boise, ID on Thursday.