Sure, there's a few weeks left in the season, and ASU has four games left in Pac-10 play. But in the spirit of March Madness, I wanted to take a look at the only possible route left for our Sun Devils to go dancing in 2011: an automatic bid through the Pac-10 Tournament.
Crazy, you say? Tomfoolery, is it? Before you say it's truly impossible, consider the 2007-2008 Georgia Bulldogs basketball team. With an awful 13-16 record going into the SEC Tournament, they were 4-12 in conference play - no one gave them a chance. But the Bulldogs perservered, winning 3 games in 30 hours and 4 in a row to make the NCAA Tournament with a meager 17-16 record, earning a 14 seed and a date with the Xavier Musketeers.
ASU might be worse than that Georgia team, but not by a lot. The Bulldogs were guard-heavy and made a lot of three pointers. The best chance the Sun Devils would have is to rally behind the shooting of Chanse Creekmur, Ty Abbott, and possibly Rihards Kuksiks.
The path through the Pac-10 Tournament is rigorous. If the season ended today, ASU would be the 10th seed, slotted to play the California Golden Bears in the opening round. The Sun Devils lost both games against Cal this year.
Want to see what else would have to happen? Keep reading after the jump.
Should the Devils get past the Bears, the UCLA Bruins would be next. At second in the Pac-10, UCLA has a solid 19-8 record and would not go down easily in front of their hometown crowd.
After that, ASU would face either #3 Washington or #6 Washington State, two more difficult possibilities. While UW has cleaned out the Sun Devils this year, ASU was able to pull off an impressive victory last weekend in Tempe.
Finally, the Pac-10 championship game. The likely opponent? Who else but the Arizona Wildcats? These shifty ballers from Tucson have surprised the NCAA basketball landscape by going 23-4 this season and earning the 10th overall ranking in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. It would be sweet revenge for the Devils, and sweet victory for the Wildcats.
Do I really think ASU can run the table against these teams? Probably not. But why even bother watching if I don't dream big?
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