How 2023 Arizona State Stacks Up to School’s Previous NCAA Teams

How 2023 Arizona State Stacks Up to School’s Previous NCAA Teams
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

It’s been 28 years since Arizona State last made it past the opening weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and nearly 50 years since it last made it to an Elite Eight.

The Bobby Hurley-coached Sun Devils will look to turn the tide on their March Madness blues this week, as ASU makes its first trek to the tournament since the 2018-19 season.

ASU opens its Big Dance slate in Dayton at Wednesday’s First Four, playing against fellow 11th seed Nevada, with the winner advancing to face off against sixth-seed TCU on Friday night.

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Arizona sports betting oddsmakers are riding high on the Sun Devils, giving ASU -140 moneyline odds, with a 2.5-point spread as of Monday morning.

For those looking to make a longshot play on the Sun Devils, BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona has ASU at +20000 to win it all, alongside the likes of USC, Utah State, Boise State, Pittsburgh and Missouri. — your source for Arizona sports betting apps information — broke down how this year’s squad stacks up to previous Sun Devil NCAA teams using Ken Pomeroy’s rankings.

ASU NCAA Teams Since 2002-03

  • 2022-23: 68 KenPom ranking; 11 seed; Plays Nevada in First Four on Wednesday
  • 2018-19: 57; 11 seed; Beat St. Johns in First Four 74-65, lost to Buffalo in First Round 91-74
  • 2017-18: 49; 11 seed; Lost to Syracuse in First Four 60-56
  • 2013-14: 39; 10 seed; Lost to Texas in First Round 87-85
  • 2008-09: 15; 6 seed; Beat Temple in First Round 66-57; lost to Syracuse in Second Round 78-67
  • 2002-03: 30; 10 seed; Beat Memphis in First Round 84-71; lost to Kansas in Second Round 108-76
  • Total: 3-5 in NCAA Tournament

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Where This Year’s ASU Team Ranks Historically

This year’s ASU team is the weakest, in terms of KenPom ranking, of the six that qualified for the Big Dance since 2002.

The strongest team was in 2008-09, when James Harden and company guided ASU to the 15th spot by season’s end. That team ultimately lost to Syracuse, 78-67, in the second round, after knocking off Temple by a 66-57 score in its opening contest.

The previous low for ASU entering the Big Dance was in 2019 (the school’s last NCAA Tournament appearance), when the Sun Devils entered ranked 57th before beating St. John’s 74-65 in Dayton.

ASU ultimately fell to Buffalo, 91-74, serving as the Sun Devils’ last taste of March Madness before this year’s run to the dance.

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How ASU Got to the NCAAs This Year

The Sun Devils were one of the last four at-large teams into the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament field, thanks in large part to a strong finish to the regular season.

For the year, ASU finished 22-12 with an 11-9 record in Pac-12 play, finishing fifth in the conference.

An upset win over Arizona in Tucson on Feb. 25 gave ASU a head full of steam, seeding wise, entering the conference tournament last week.

After splitting its games in Vegas, beating USC (77-72) before falling to the Wildcats (78-59), the selection committee rewarded Hurley’s bunch by giving it the school’s first at-large berth in four years.

Now, the next task for the Sun Devils is to climb past the opening weekend for the first time since the Clinton Administration, starting with Wednesday’s clash against Nevada in Dayton.



Christopher Boan is the lead writer at after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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