Arizona State loses to Arizona, will not finish ahead of USC

USC continues to get most of the results it needs to not only make the NCAA Tournament, but bypass the First Four in Dayton and go straight to the Round of 64 next Thursday or Friday.

It’s true that the First Four counts as making the NCAA Tournament and playing in an NCAA Tournament game, but every coach and player wants to be on the court for the first round, not the play-in round. The Thursday and Friday when the brackets have 64 teams, and everyone thinks it can make a run, are two of the most special days in American sports. People want to experience that thrill. Having to board an extra flight to Dayton to play a tough game, just to attempt to make the Round of 64, is something a Power Five school such as USC wants to avoid. For a mid-major such as UAB or Hofstra or North Texas, it would be seen as a reward, but for USC, it would be a burden.

The Trojans are moving in the right direction, away from Dayton and the First Four.
Friday night, in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals, Arizona State had a chance to potentially move above USC on the NCAA Tournament seed list, putting the Trojans at greater risk for a trip to the First Four. However, the Sun Devils lost to the Arizona Wildcats. Moreover, they didn’t just lose; they were pounded by 19 points, 78-59. The margin of the loss, as much as the loss itself, clearly puts ASU below USC on any seed list.

Therefore, if a Pac-12 team is going to go to Dayton, it’s likely to be the Sun Devils, not the Trojans. That’s a crucial piece of good fortune for USC, which is increasingly likely to play next Thursday or Friday in the Round of 64.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire