Arizona State is in the Big Dance for the first time since the days of James Harden. But when you compare this year's squad to the 2009 team, the Sun Devils aren't just lacking the bearded one; they're lacking an semblance of momentum.
So will they be able to pull off the 7-10 upset? Here's what our staff had to say:
Ryan Bafaloukos: Arizona State 75, Texas 68
This is a very intriguing game because what Texas does well Arizona State does not and what the Sun Devils do well the Longhorns struggle in. Texas lives on the boards and Arizona State is more of a perimeter shooting team. In the end, I think Arizona State's struggles from the field will end and the Sun Devils will shoot well enough to pull out a win. I think Jahii Carson and especially Jermaine Marshall break out of their slumps and come up big tonight to send Arizona State to the round of 32.
Danny Shapiro: Arizona State 76, Texas 62
I have no trust in ASU away from Wells Fargo Arena and against a team that is as good on the boards as Texas is. Herb Sendek has continually showed the inability to prepare his team for big games this season and there's no telling whether it will happen again. My guess is yes and they'll be down by double-digits early in the first half. The Sun Devils have a chance if they can get production from their big three and limit Texas on the offensive boards, but I'm not banking on that.
Nick Krueger: Arizona State 72, Texas 67
The premier matchup tonight will be Jahii Carson against Javan Felix at the point. The two men are similar in style and size. Texas has struggled to find an identity all year and have struggled to decide whether they want to run or execute in the half court which could be their downfall tonight. Everyone is pointing to the rebounding and it is cause for concern but the only truly great big man Texas has faced in the Big 12 this season is Joel Embid (most other teams have glorified power forwards). The Longhorns tallest player who starts is 6-foot-8 Jonathan Holmes, so they can try and emulate Jordan Bachynski but nothing rivals seeing a 7-foot-2 man in your way as you try to drive the paint.
Ben Haber: Arizona State 62, Texas 68
Arizona State against Texas may be one of the most evenly balanced games in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns are going to win because of their ability to rebound, ranking No. 4 in the nation. The Sun Devils are No. 130 on the glass, despite the 7-feet-2 presence of Jordan Bachynski. Even though Texas struggles on the offensive end, they will get too many additional opportunities. Just like all season, ASU can overcome its deficiencies with stellar 3-point shooting. Jermaine Marshall and Bo Barnes need to get hot, otherwise it places too much pressure on Jahii Carson. This outcome should come down to the final possession or two, and I trust the Long Horns defense to get a crucial stop, while I don't know what to expect from the inconsistent Sun Devils.
Cory Williams: Arizona State 75, Texas 71
Arizona State has limped into the NCAA Tournament, but Texas hasn't exactly lit the world on fire in recent games either. With a week of rest and the motivation of knowing this is potentially their last game in maroon and gold, I fully anticipate the Sun Devils playing well tonight against the Longhorns. Watch out for Jermaine Marshall to have a little more swagger in his step, and don't be surprised if Jordan Bachynski grabs double-digit rebounds.
Cody Ulm: Arizona State 72, Texas 76
This has potential to be one of ugliest second round matchups of the tournament. The good news is I expect Jahii Carson to come through with a signature performance. The bad news is that I don't believe it will be enough with the amount of second chance possessions I see Texas earning. I'm envisioning both teams playing sloppy enough that they never pull away from each other. Arizona State is going to play more aggressive than it has as of late but I expect Texas to be ready to run as well. The only way I see the Sun Devils pulling this one out is if they jump out to a substantial early lead. And if you've watched your fair share of ASU basketball this year, you'll realize that isn't the Devils forte.
It seems like our staff is split for Thursday's night game. So tell us what you think in the comments to break the tie.