At least a half-dozen college basketball teams are spending Sunday sweating. Sweating because they’re unsure whether they’ll hear their names called when the bracket for the 2018 NCAA tournament is revealed on Sunday night. One of those teams this year is Bobby Hurley’s Arizona State.
And one of the aspects of his excruciating wait, coincidentally, was rooting for his brother, Danny. Not that he wouldn’t have been anyway, but this time, he had extra incentive. And unfortunately for elder brother, younger brother didn’t come through.
Every year, bubble teams spend the final 30 hours of conference tournaments hoping for chalk. They root for favorites in those tournaments – for teams that would make the NCAA tournament anyway, even without an automatic bid. They root against potential bid-stealers – teams that wouldn’t otherwise be in the tournament, but threaten to swipe auto bids with upsets.
This year, Rhode Island – coached by Danny Hurley – was one of those favorites. Davidson was one of those potential bid-steals. And the Wildcats, NIT-bound without an Atlantic-10 tournament title, beat the top-seeded Rams in the final on Sunday.
In doing so – because Rhode Island will be in even without the A-10 title – they bumped one would-be at-large qualifier out of the Big Dance. We’ll find out Sunday night who that unfortunate team is. But there’s a decent chance it will be Arizona State.
Bobby’s team rose to No. 3 in the nation in December with an unbeaten start, but faltered in Pac-12 play, and lost to lowly Colorado in the first round of the conference tournament. Yahoo Sports’ Brad Evans had the Sun Devils as the second-to-last team in as of Saturday night. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg had them as the very last team in.
If they were the last team in as of Sunday morning, they’re now the first team out. And Bobby would have Danny to thank for his team’s 11th-hour misfortune.
UPDATE: All’s well in the Hurley family. Arizona State got into the First Four with a matchup against Syracuse and Dan Hurley was overcome with emotion as the matchup was announced.
— Bill Koch (@BillKoch25) March 11, 2018
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