On February 7th, the Arizona State Sun Devils got their ass kicked by the horribad Washington State Cougars (210th in Kenpom’s rankings). That 21-point loss crippled ASU’s argument for an at large bid; and without consistent success against top teams it’s hard to see them getting any leeway with the selection committee on Sunday.
Other embarrassing losses on the Sun Devils’ record include a one-point loss to Princeton (178th in Kenpom) and Vanderbilt (154th). There are questionable losses to Utah (111th) at home and Stanford (115th) on the road. Neither of these losses are particularly inspiring for a team that’s currently sitting at 61 in Kenpom’s rankings while also playing in arguably the weakest Pac-12 in decades.
The highest ranked team Pac-12 team is Washington at 47, also the second highest ranked victory the Sun Devils have on their resume; after that it’s Oregon at 49 — ASU is 1-2 against the Ducks this season. It gets ugly after those two as the conference only has four teams between 100 and 150 on Kenpom’s rankings, while WSU and Cal round it out at 210 and 244 respectively. And that 21-point loss to a team that was so bad it’s head coach was fired less than 24 hours after the largest loss in Pac-12 tournament history will not look good to the committee.
Now there are some good wins on Arizona State’s record, the aforementioned victories over the Huskies and Ducks are pretty nice, but the best win is against Mississippi State; the Bulldogs are currently sitting at 21 according to Kenpom’s computer. The Sun Devils also recorded a solid win four point win over the Utah State Aggies (33) too; but those wins aren’t strong enough to overcome their bad losses…or their weak conference.
Arizona State is the Pac-12’s only team that could make the Big Dance. But I’m struggling to see Bobby Hurley’s squad overcome the bad loss to the Cougs and Princeton as the committee makes is pouring over resumes and putting together the NCAA tournament bracket.