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ASU Basketball: Hurley brothers enter NCAA Tournament after emotional roller coaster

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Them “Hurley boys” goin’ dancing.

NCAA Basketball: Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship-Davidson vs Rhode Island Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

huTra Holder was so nervous, he couldn’t watch with the rest of the team. When he got the news he fell to the ground and cried. Kodi Justice read the graphic “Arizona State,” on CBS, hugged his coach Bobby Hurley and called his dad.

Hurley hopped in the water, too.

Then, he called his brother — Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley.

When Arizona State secured a spot in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, here was his brother’s reaction:

“He’s such a good brother and we have such a strong relationship,” Bobby Hurley said. “And you have no idea how much more pressure he put on himself this morning.”

The Jersey City, New Jersey natives — Bobby Hurley, 46, and Dan Hurley, 45 — are in the NCAA Tournament together for first time. URI, a seven-seed, plays Oklahoma on Thursday. ASU, an 11-seed, plays Syracuse in a play-in game Wednesday.

There’s even a possibility they meet. Both in the Midwest bracket, ASU and URI could play each other as soon as the Sweet Sixteen.

The two are dancing. The Hurley’s are happy.

But this morning, it got hectic.


Arizona State’s NCAA Tournament chances were on thin ice.

Losing 11 of its last 19 games, the Sun Devils were projected out in 42 of 84 brackets from major media outlets around the nation.

“You put yourself through hell,” Bobby Hurley said. “You’re watching so many games. You’re thinking about possibilities. Which teams are winning, which teams are losing and how that impacts your chances. I knew it was going to go right down to the wire.”

After falling to Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals, Justice said he watched too much basketball in the last three days.

Holder said his emotions were so mixed he and Justice ate three doughnuts on their way to Hurley’s house for the selection show.

One of those teams Bobby Hurley watched closely was his brother’s.

The No. 25 Rhode Island Rams played in the Atlantic 10 championship game against Davidson on the morning of “Selection Sunday.” A URI win would eliminate Davidson’s chances from an automatic bid into the tournament, slicing away another team from bursting ASU’s “bubble.”

“You can tell he knew where we stood. And he let his players know that they were going to empty the tank,” Bobby Hurley said. “I felt terrible that he was thinking about that. I said ‘hey man, just go out there and have fun and win a championship.”

Rhode Island lost by one, 58-57.

Bobby Hurley said he and his brother texted each other after the game. They waited until after the bracket was released to talk on the phone.

Davidson got a 12-seed. Arizona State got an 11-seed play-in game. It was more than good enough.

“It was relief initially, and then just a flood of emotion,” Dan Hurley told the Providence Journal. “Once our game was done and I was done hurting for our seniors and for our program and for everyone that supports us, the next thing that was on my mind on that bus to the hotel was my brother’s fate.”

Here’s Bobby Hurley when he found out he will join his brother: