One possibility was Arizona State, which started the season strong before plummeting quickly. The Sun Devils are now 16-8 overall but just 7-6 in the Pac-12, including losses to Washington and Washington State.
The Sun Devils’ latest loss, a 75-70 defeat to Oregon in Tempe on Saturday, is a significant blow to their NCAA at-large hopes.
If anything, this is a boost to Oregon’s resume, and it could put the Ducks as an at-large team instead of Arizona State (h/t Zachary Neel of Ducks Wire).
“After a tough loss to the Arizona Wildcats on Thursday night, the Ducks were able to pull out a scrappy, ugly, and hard-fought 75-70 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils,” Neel wrote. “It certainly wasn’t pretty, but it was good enough to keep Oregon’s hopes of getting an at-large bid in the NCAA March Madness Tournament alive and well.”
Dana Altman’s team has been up and down all season, but the Ducks have wins over Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, all of which help their case when fighting for a spot in the Big Dance.
The Sun Devils have now dropped five of their last six games, and they will likely need at least one win against Arizona or UCLA in the final stretch of the regular season to boost their resume.
Arizona State faces Stanford, Cal, and Colorado over the next couple of weeks, and a loss to one of those lower-tier Pac-12 teams might be the final nail in the coffin for Arizona State this season, especially if it can’t beat UCLA or Arizona.