NCAA tournament team previews: Arizona State Sun Devils
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team's national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 21-11, 10-8 in Pac-12
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 108.3 (97th) / 96.0 (27th)
Seed: No. 10 in Midwest
Impact player: Jahii Carson, sophomore guard, 18.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 4.0 rpg
The Case For:
The Sun Devils boast the Pac-12's second-best defense by adjusted efficiency and won four games against the top 50, all against teams that went dancing, most notably a double-overtime win against Arizona in mid-February.
Carson ended the year 12th in the conference in offensive rating, not bad for someone who used at least 24 percent of his team's possessions, according to KenPom. He's capable of getting hot and putting Arizona State on his back in the tournament.
The Case Against:
The Sun Devils once looked like a safe bet for the Big Dance, but they've stumbled down the stretch, losing their last three games, including their first game in the Pac-12 tournament to Stanford and thus dropped to a No. 10 seed. They too often fall into scoring droughts and are almost wholly dependent on Carson and their defense to win games. They shot just 45 percent from the floor as a team, which ranked 134th in the country, and are 160th in two-point field goal percentage. As such, they'll have trouble with teams that can play at least comparable defense. If no one steps up alongside Carson and Jermaine Marshall as a third scorer, they could be a quick out.
SI prediction: Beat Texas in second round, lose to Michigan in third roundView complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts