The Sun Devils – despite the thrilling OT victory over Colorado on Saturday night – are between a rock and a hard place right now, as far as making the NCAA Tournament is concerned.
The latest RPI rankings were revealed, and Arizona State is currently No. 71 on the list.
Head coach Herb Sendek doesn’t put his time or focus on these rankings. He says all he can do at the moment is prepare his kids the best way he can for the last five games of the season.
“I find it almost impossible to imagine how a group of people can discern who should be in and out in a year like this in college basketball,” Sendek said. “I mean, right now, if you had to even try and predict the order of finish in our conference, you might as well play Russian Roulette.”
“You might as well spin it,” Sendek said. “Who knows?”
Sendek made note of the fact that the Sun Devils began their season way back in November with Central Arkansas. He said the evaluators will go back to Game One and look over the team’s entire body of work and decide if they’re worthy of being in the field of 68 come March.
“How do you pick these teams?” Sendek asked. “Depends on what criteria you’re gonna use I guess.”
Sendek called the whole process “madness,” because a team’s fate – a team like Arizona State, who’s been playing since Nov. 10 – can come down to how well they play in their conference tournament, and everything else before that could be thrown out like trash if they don’t perform up to the committee’s standards.
“If they win it they’re in, if they lose it they’re out, and you’re thinking, ‘Wow, we’ve been playing since November and it’s down to that,'” Sendek said.
Sendek and his team have five more regular season games, plus the Pac-12 Tournament, to show they’re worthy of a spot in the field, but he knows the trek there won’t be an easy one, starting on Wednesday night with Washington State in Tempe, Ariz.
“They’re extremely intense,” Sendek said, when speaking on the level of gameplay down the stretch. “Everybody’s given it their best, and if you’re a college basketball fan, you can’t have a better time of year, because everybody’s just laying it on the line with everything they have.”