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ASU happy to be in NCAA Tournament, ready for play-in game

15 March 2018

Off-the-court issues. Injuries. Suspensions. "And I believe that about our team".

Both Arizona State and Syracuse started out well this season, but both struggled through their conference slates and should consider themselves lucky to receive invitations to the NCAA tournament. Also, star guard Allonzo Trier was ruled ineligible by the NCAA after a trace amount of a banned substance was found in his system. "You keep inching your way up to where you're able to "crack the stone" so to speak and get one of these wins". But they finished 12-6 in the conference, tied for second, and got hot at the right time in the tournament.

It nearly derailed before it began. In February, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested 10 people, including four assistant coaches. Forward Ryan Anderson (hip flexor) has missed eight games but might return Saturday in New Orleans.

"This team has to battle for everything", Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said of his 33rd NCAA Tournament.

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Houston already made a splash by poaching Aaron Colvin from Jacksonville and can go for the jugular by reeling in Mathieu. Only 25-years-old, Mathieu still has a lot left in the tank and should be a player of huge impact for several more years.

Hurley previously coached at Buffalo, where he led the Bulls to their first ever tournament game, which was a quick one-and-done at the hands of West Virginia.

In a monumental shift, Miller made a statement strongly denying the report and the university president announced later that day he would remain as coach. Four different players average double figures in scoring for Arizona, which dropped three straight games in the Bahamas in late November without injured guard Rawle Alkins but had little trouble during Pac-12 play.

The tumult and the claims against their coach fueled an us-against-the-world mentality. UA also won both Pac-12 titles during the 2016-17 season, marking just the second time in conference history a program has won back-to-back regular season and tournament championships.

The Sun Devils' selections mark the first time since 2014 that both teams are in their respective tournaments, and follows what has been an unforgettable season for ASU basketball, particularly for men's hoops, which included an upset victory over the No. 2 ranked Kansas Jayhawks and a flawless 12-0 season start, the first in the program's history. "We have a lot of winners". "We don't care what's on the front of your jersey".

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But the turmoil has already had an impact. And if Ayton can bring his Wildcats to a final four appearance, he would only solidify his claim as the best prime player in college basketball. They are a good defensive team going up against Miami in the first round while Miami will be without their best player.

Arizona's Deandre Ayton (13).

For all its success, ASU only won three conference games by 10 or more points, relying on close games almost all conference season long. "[But] I don't think you're going to stop a guy like that". He gets fouls called on him for being too strong. "We're gonna come out and compete".

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But we didn't deserve it because we weren't good enough. "We always get in the right positions and the last pass was not good enough, and that is what killed us today".

ASU happy to be in NCAA Tournament, ready for play-in game