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Arizona State Projected to Miss NCAA Tournament in SI Preview

The Arizona State Sun Devils aren't exactly favorites to play Cinderella in Sports Illustrated's preseason bracket watch.

The Arizona State Sun Devils haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 2019 (although they were certain to make it in 2020 before COVID forced the cancellation of the tournament). 

In Sports Illustrated's preseason tournament field, that streak unfortunately continues for Arizona State. Using SI's 1-358 preseason rankings, a theoretical tournament field was assembled, with the Sun Devils absent and likely playing in the NIT as a substitute. 

"With that methodology comes a few caveats. The aim of the 1–358 rankings was to predict who would qualitatively be the best teams in the sport," said Sports Illustrated in quantifying the argument. 

"Therefore, obviously it’s likely that teams that qualitatively deserve tournament selection don’t get in because they don’t have quality wins. That’s why a team like Michigan State, which was No. 57 in KenPom entering the 2021 tournament, went dancing while Duke (KenPom No. 36 pre-tournament) did not."

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Only four Pac-12 teams cracked the field: UCLA, USC, Arizona and Oregon. 

Arizona State was ranked No. 58 in SI's preseason rankings, so we're not quite sure how the Sun Devils missed the tournament if the seeding was based on those rankings. 

In a separate Pac-12 preview, the Sun Devils were projected to finish sixth in the conference, although guard Marreon Jackson was chosen as the conference's "newcomer of the year."

The Sun Devils begin their season Tuesday night against Portland at Desert Financial Arena, with tipoff at 5 pm Arizona time.