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Bracketology: Experts split on Arizona State’s NCAA Tournament chances

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Where will the Devils end up on Selection Sunday?

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament - Arizona State vs Colorado Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It was almost certain that all the Sun Devils needed to do to secure their NCAA Tournament birth was beat Colorado in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday.

They didn’t.

In a matter of hours, fans’ perspective jolted to now almost expecting ASU to head to the NIT. Maybe some of that stems from a handful of experts having thrust the Devils out of their brackets, and maybe some of that is because for the last four weeks, ASU has not passed the eye test.

After their 97-85 loss to Colorado, Bobby Hurley and Co. may be riding into whatever tournament they get into having lost five of their last six games.

Hurley and his players will praise the Devils 12-0 non-conference schedule and wins over Kansas and Xavier as to why they should get the tourney nod, but their critics argument is just as strong.

People have downplayed the Pac-12 Conference as a whole all season long, some even saying that it may be just the fifth or sixth-best conference in the country. Only one Pac-12 team is ranked (No. 15 Arizona) and most brackets have just three teams from the Pac-12 getting into the tourney.

Fans and experts alike have already forged themselves onto one side of the argument, but the one thing they can’t quite argue is that the Sun Devils are a bubble team — maybe even the 68th team put into the field.

An example of how close ASU is to the bubble: At 7:22 a.m. on Thursday, ASU was one of the last four in on Joe Lunardi of ESPN’s bracket. At 6:33 a.m. on Friday, ASU was back on the other side of the bubble as one of Lunardi’s first four out. Then, at 9:07 p.m. on Saturday, ASU was back in the last four in.

In a list of 106 different brackets compiled by Bracketmatrix.com, the Sun Devils were listed in only 53. And, with an average seeding of 10.98, the Devils will likely play in one of the preliminary First Four games of the NCAA Tournament if they are selected, according to multiple brackets.

ASU has had its eyes on plenty of other bubble teams since its loss, but with Selection Sunday on the horizon, it’s anyone’s guess as to where the Devils end up.

With that being said, let’s take a look at a few people’s guesses:

ESPN — Joe Lunardi

NCAA First Four — Dayton, OH

11-seed Texas vs. 11-seed Arizona State

Midwest Regional

If the Devils beat Texas, they will then play 6-seed Arkansas in Wichita, Kansas.

CBS Sports — Jerry Palm

ASU is part of his first four out along with Louisville, USC and Middle Tennessee State.

Sports Illustrated — Michael Beller

ASU is part of his first four out along with Marquette, Baylor and Middle Tennessee State.

Fox Sports — Howie Schwab

ASU is part of his first four out along with Notre Dame, Syracuse and Middle Tennessee State.

SB Nation — Chris Dobbertean

NCAA First Four — Dayton, OH

12-seed Texas vs. 12-seed Arizona State

South Regional

If the Devils beat Texas, they will then play 5-seed Ohio State in San Diego, CA.

Rotowire

NCAA First Four — Dayton, OH

11-seed Louisville vs. 11-seed Arizona State

Midwest Regional

If the Devils beat Texas, they will then play 6-seed Florida in Dallas.

Sideline Intel — Jeff Griffith

NCAA First Four — Dayton, OH

11-seed Texas vs. 11-seed Arizona State

South Regional

If the Devils beat Texas, they will then play 6-seed Miami in Nashville, Tenn.