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Arizona State Sun Devils

The Sun Devils are Hungry to get back to the NCAA Tournament

The Sun Devils went to the First Four in the NCAA Tournament last year. They advanced to the first round when they dominated Nevada by 25, but their run didn’t last long as they were immediately ousted in the first round on a last-second buzzer-beater by TCU. 

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This team is different than last year, with almost an entirely different starting 5. Coach Bobby Hurley has never made it past the first round as a coach. Yet, when you are coming off a season like last year’s, you learn something from it and use that knowledge to get back.

“Oh, experience is a big part of it.” Jamiya Neal said, “Because we’ve been in tough Pac-12 games. We’ve been in tough regular games. We’ve now been in the tournament. So now we have a lot of experience. And we’ve been in a lot of situations where we tell those guys, “Alright, this is how we’re going to do. This is how it’s going to be.” So you know, the experience is good because now I think we’ll be calm, cool, and collected. When it comes to a close game or, you know, a last-second shot or anything. We’ll be ready for it because we’ve been through it.” 

Still, when you make it that far and lose, you can’t help but think of what could’ve gone differently. What changes you could’ve made to help this team win more?  

“You know, I think what if I didn’t have to go and play in Dayton and how good we might have been in the first round of the NCAA Tournament instead of having to go that route,” Hurley said.

This team is hungry, though. The leaders tasted that tournament feel and want to go back and are poised to do so, especially with the Final Four being hosted in Phoenix this year. They know what it takes to make the tournament and are ready to use it. 

“I mean, it’s just all about winning. So as long as we’re winning, I’m out there doing what I need to do and making sure everyone is held accountable.” Senior Point Guard Frankie Collins said,  “And I hold myself accountable. That’s the key to getting into the tournament. If everyone’s held accountable, we know what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right, and we better fix things and move on. The faster you move on from things, the better things get. So just not hanging our heads over like small little turnovers and missed shots and continue to go to the next play mentality and just leading, so I mean, I’m hungry you get to the tournament. It’s fun. It’s a great environment to play. So we’re going to get there.”

The Sun Devils start their season on November 8th against Mississippi State. 

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