March Madness 2014: Arizona State earns 10 seed in NCAA tournament

Ralph Freso

Jahii Carson, Jermaine Marshall and Jordan Bachynski all have at least one game left on the big stage during their Sun Devil careers.

The Arizona State basketball team is dancing in March for the first time since 2009 after earning a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils are slated to take on No. 7 seed Texas on Thursday in the Midwest Regional after compiling a 21-11 record this season.

If the Sun Devils manage to defeat the Longhorns, they would take on the winner of the Michigan vs. Wofford game on Saturday.

Arizona State was relatively confident about its tournament chances on Sunday, but the Sun Devils didn't help their cause during the final two weeks of the season. Coach Herb Sendek's squad enters the tournament on a three-game losing streak including a 21-point blowout loss against Stanford in the Pac-12 Tournament.

The three-game losing streak is the longest such stretch for the Sun Devils this season, as they lost consecutive games just two other times during the season. Arizona State did respond to both of those streaks by winning consecutive games.

Texas enters the tournament with with an overall record of 23-10 after losing to Baylor in the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns finished third in the Big 12 regular season standings with a mark of 11-7 in conference play. Coach Rick Barnes' squad features a balanced attack with four different players including forward Jonathan Holmes averaging double figures this season.

The top four seeds in the Midwest Regional are No. 1 Wichita State, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Duke, and No. 4 Louisville.

Arizona State's tournament berth marks the 14th time the program will appear in the NCAA tournament and just the third time the Sun Devils will compete in March Madness since 1995.

Despite winning 22 games in their 2012-2013 campaign, Arizona State won just nine conference games and was relegated to the NIT Tournament. This season, Arizona State finished 10-8 in conference play and knocked off rival Arizona in overtime in February.

The NCAA Tournament is the final opportunity for players like Jahii Carson, Jermaine Marshall and Jordan Bachynski to make their mark in Sun Devil uniforms as all three will be moving on from the program after this season.

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