Before we look forward to Arizona State's matchup with Texas in the NCAA Tournament, let's look back on the season and how the Sun Devils got here.
If was a very up and down season for Arizona State. We saw the Sun Devils compete with some of the top teams in the country and play horribly against teams they should beat.
Here are Arizona State's defining moments of the 2013-2014 season, in chronological order.
Moment No. 1 - A 79-77 victory over Marquette on November 25.
Herb Sendek discussed recently that his staff tried to beef up their nonconference slate. For Arizona State, this began in late November in a home matchup with Marquette. The Golden Eagles have been a consistent tournament team over the past few years and this was Arizona State's chance to get a signature victory early in the season.
Arizona State's stars shone bright that night, as Jahii Carson dropped 23 points, Jermaine Marshall scored 21 points and Jordan Bachynski finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Not only did the Sun Devils defeat Marquette, they beat the Golden Eagles on a walk-off block by Bachynski.
It was one of the most emotional games Arizona State has played in a long time, little did we know it would not even be Bachynski's biggest block of the season.
Moment No. 2 - An 88-60 loss to Creighton on November 28.
The next game after Arizona State's victory over Marquette, the Sun Devils came back down to earth in a 28-point loss to Creighton. Doug McDermott torched the Sun Devils for 27 points and six rebounds. This was Arizona State's first game of the season on ESPN and the Sun Devils came out flat and looked outmatched.
After tallying 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks against Marquette the game before, Bachynski was held to four points and two rebounds because of foul trouble. Arizona State went a disappointing 1-2 in the Wooden Classic, also falling to Miami.
Moment No. 3 - A 89-78 overtime victory over California on January 29.
This game is important for two reasons. The first is that Arizona State played about as well as we have seen the Sun Devils play this season in the first half against Cal. The second is, despite coughing up a 12-point halftime lead, the Sun Devils showed resiliency in beating the Golden Bears in overtime.
Everything was going wrong for the Sun Devils in the second half, and Cal finally took the lead with less than a minute to go. Sendek drew up perhaps his best play of the season and Jermaine Marshall sank a 3-pointer to tie the game and send it into overtime. The Sun Devils took care of the rest, outscoring Cal 17-6 in the extra period.
Moment No. 4 - A 66-63 overtime victory over No. 2 Arizona on February 14
This moment is without a doubt the high point of Arizona State's season. Another Bachynski walk-off block gave Arizona State its biggest win in the Sendek era and one of the biggest in school history.
This game also capped off as stretch where the Sun Devils went 6-1 in conference play including victories over Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and California.
Moment No. 5 - A 86-63 loss to Utah on February 23.
If the victory over Arizona was the high point of Arizona State's season, a 23-point drubbing in Salt Lake City was the low point. Arizona State came out flat and never had a chance against Utah. The Sun Devils followed the win against Arizona with two straight losses to the Rocky Mountain schools.
Moment No. 6 - A 78-60 victory over California on March 1.
The reason why I included this game on this list is because after beating Cal on March 1, the Sun Devils effectively punched their ticket to the Big Dance. Marshall put up 22 points on 7-11 shooting and Jonathan Gilling scored 15 points off the bench.
Moment No. 7 - A 79-58 loss to Stanford on March 13.
Arizona State came to the Pac-12 tournament hoping to do some damage in Vegas. The result: a 21-point throttling at the hands of a hungrier Stanford team. The Sun Devils looked lethargic against the Cardinal and left Vegas with another poor showing in the Pac-12 tournament.
Now, the Sun Devils have a chance to create a signature defining memory on Thursday in the NCAA Tournament.