NCAA Tournament Round of 64: No. 11 Arizona State vs. No. 11 Nevada-First Look At The Sun Devils
Who are the Sun Devils?
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Nevada secures first four battle against Arizona State, with some familiar faces.
It’s been established that the Mountain West Conference was an absolute battlefield to navigate this season. Established ahead of the ACC in both KenPom and the NET Rankings.
Steve Alford’s Nevada Wolf Pack, like many other teams in conference play this season survived with some tough losses. But while also securing top wins of their own against league leaders San Diego State, Boise State, Utah State and more.
As a bubble team in most projections heading into Selection Sunday. The Wolf Pack drew a Last Four In No. 11 vs. No. 11 matchup against a similar styled opponent. The Arizona State Sun Devils are led by former Wolf Pack members Desmond Cambridge Jr. and Warren Washington.
Who Are The Sun Devils
The Sun Devils are led by now 8th year head coach Bobby Hurley. The Duke Blue Devils legend is in his second head coaching stint after getting his feed wet at Buffalo in the MAC.
In his final season in Upstate New York, coach Hurley lead the Bulls to a regular season title, conference tournament title and a trip to the big dance. Since he’s been at the helm in Tempe, Arizona State has made back to back trips to the NCAA Tournament. In 2017-2018 & 2018-2019, while accumulating a record of 140-112 (55.6%).
Gr. G-Desmond Cambridge Jr. (6-4, 180)
Stats: 13.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.2 APG & 1.8 SPG
Jr. G-DJ Horne (6-1, 175)
Stats: 12.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.4 APG & 1.2 SPG
Sr. F-Warren Washington (7-0, 215)
Stats: 9.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.5 APG & 1.7 BPG
How Did They Get Here
Like the aforementioned ACC, the Pac-12 experienced a bit of a decline nationally this past season. Outside of Arizona and UCLA, USC and Arizona State were not sure fire selections come Sunday.
Arizona State 22-12 (11-9, 5th in Pac-12) managed to secure a non-conference neutral site wins over a No. 20 ranked Michigan squad and a Creighton squad that ended the year 3rd in a very competitive Big East. Although the Sun Devils still struggled to fend off Pac-12 foes, they managed a road win over a top-10 Arizona Wildcats team as a part of an 8-4 record in their last twelve games.
All of this culminating to a bubble team sanction before Sunday. Even though they were a part of the field of 68, their Last Four In designation describes just how close of a call it was for coach Hurley’s squad this year.
Neutral Site-No. 20 Michigan 87-62
Neutral Site-Creighton 73-71
@-No. 7 Arizona 89-88
NET Ranking: 66th
Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.