Their March Madness dreams ended, the Sun Devils are still postseason bound with a home game this week to kick off the NIT
They may not be going dancing this March, but the Arizona State Sun Devils will be heading to postseason play, as they have been named the No. 3 seed in the National Invitation Tournament.
They will play a first round game on Wednesday against No. 6 seed Detroit, hosted in Wells Fargo Arena at 7:00 PM. Tickets for the NIT will go on-sale to the general public beginning at 2 p.m. on Monday online. The game will be free to attend for students who bring their student ID to the south entrance.
The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. The winner of the game will face the winner of the No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 7 Long Beach State game.
ASU had a solid chance of making the NCAA Tournament heading into the final weeks of the season, but six losses in the final eight regular season games forced them into a position where a Pac-12 Tournament win was their only hope. The Sun Devils pulled off a thrilling overtime win over Stanford in the first round, and appeared poised to topple No. 1 seed UCLA, but ASU squandered a 15-point lead en route to an early exit and exile into the NIT.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the NCAA Tournament, the turnaround from last season is still encouraging. ASU improved from 10 wins to 21, and saw Jahii Carson become one of the nation's top point guards, Carrick Felix elevate into a NBA quality wing, and Jordan Bachynski break the conference's single-season blocks record.
Detroit finished 20-12 in the Horizon League, and brings a potent offense to the game, having finished ninth in the nation with 78.1 point-per-game. They are led point guard Ray McCallum, who led the Titans will 18.8 points-per-game on the year while grabbing 5.2 board and dishing out 4.5 assists on the year. He forms a potent backcourt with three-point gunner Jason Calliste and his 13.3 points-per-game. The 6-foot-9 Nick Minnerath is their top post player, and brings nearly 15 points and six boards a game to the match-up. The Sun Devils should be able to exploit their superior size with Bachynski and Ruslan Pateev down low.
This will be ASU's first postseason appearance since the 2010 NIT, in which the Sun Devils earned a No. 1 seed, but were shockingly upset by No. 8 seed Jacksonville 67-66. The last NCAA appearance for ASU was in 2009, when the James Harden-led Devils beat Temple in the first round before falling to 3rd-seeded Syracuse.
Fellow Pac-12 teams Washington and Stanford made the NIT as well. The Cardinal are a No. 4 seed, and the Huskies are a No. 6 seed.
Here's all the first round matchups:
No. 1 Kentucky (21-11) at No. 8 Robert Morris (23-10)
No. 4 Providence (17-14) vs. No. 5 Charlotte (21-11)
No. 3 Arizona State (21-12) vs. No. 6 Detroit (20-12)
No. 2 Baylor (18-14) vs. No. 7 Long Beach State (19-13)
No. 1 Southern Mississippi (25-9) vs. Charleston Southern (19-12)
No. 4 Florida State (18-15) vs. No. 5 Louisiana Tech (26-6)
No. 3 BYU (21-11) vs. No. 6 Washington (18-15)
No. 2 Tennessee (20-12) vs. No. 7 Mercer (23-11)
The first three rounds will run through March 27th at campus sites, with the NIT semifinals and finals being held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The semis will be on April 2nd with the championship on April 4th.
For the entire NIT bracket, download it from us here!
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Do you think the Sun Devils' season is a failure for not making the NCAA Tournament?
Yes (161 votes)
No (110 votes)
The NIT is a big improvement (92 votes)
363 total votes