The Arizona State Sun Devils will have to play the first day of the Pac-12 tournament, which begins on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and they’re going to have a long wait that day since they’ll be taking the court against Oregon State (11-20, 5-15) in the last of four first-round games at 9:30 p.m.
The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
Going into the weekend the Sun Devils (20-11, 11-9) could have finished as high as fourth, which would have meant a first round bye, or they could have finished as low as seventh. But coach Bobby Hurley’s team had the misfortune of playing a tough set of games to round out the season with games at UCLA and USC, both of which ASU lost.
Oregon, which ended up the No. 4 season, played the three worst teams in the conference in its last three games in Oregon State, Stanford and California.
ASU ended up tied for fifth but lost the tiebreaker to suddenly surging Washington State, which has won its last six games.
The Sun Devils defeated Oregon State both meetings this season but they were competitive contests. The first came on Jan. 14 with ASU winning 74-69 in Corvallis. It went down to the wire and wasn’t secured until sophomore guard Frankie Collins got a steal in the closing seconds with the Sun Devils up by three points.
The second was played in Tempe on Feb. 2 with the Sun Devils prevailing 68-57. With 5:36 ASU was only up by four points at 58-54.
“Oregon State has played us well both games,” Hurley said. “They have young players. I’m sure they’ll play freely with nothing to lose and our bracket is our bracket. The top four teams in our conference are really good. There are others that are upset threats. We have a better league than anyone gives us credit for but we just have to be ready to compete and win a championship. That’s what our goal is.”
Previously:Arizona State loses as final shot fails to fall at USC
Other games the first day are No. 8 Washington (16-15, 8-12) vs. No. 9 Colorado (16-15, 8-12) at 1 p.m., No. 5 Washington State (16-15, 11-9) vs. No. 12 Cal (3-28, 2-18) and No. 7 Utah (17-14, 10-10) vs. No. 10 Stanford (13-18, 7-13) at 7 p.m.
Joining Oregon in getting byes were top seed UCLA (27-4, 18-2), which claimed its first conference title in a decade, No. 2 Arizona (25-6, 14-6) and No. 3 USC (22-9, 14-6). Arizona and USC finished with the same conference record but the Wildcats swept the season series with the Trojans.
If ASU were to win its opener, it would earn a rematch against USC on Thursday, with that game also being the 9:30 p.m. game, this time being televised by ESPN.
The Friday semifinals will be played at 7 pm. and 9:30 p.m. with Saturday’s championship game tipping off at 8:30 p.m.
Last season Arizona State lost its first game in the tournament to Stanford 71-70 with the difference coming when James Keefe scooped up a loose ball and put it in at the buzzer. ASU had led 69-55 with 3:01 left.
Arizona is the defending champion after beating UCLA in the championship game last season 84-76 behind the play of MVP Bennedict Mathurin. The Wildcats have won a conference best eight titles to go with four runner-up finishes. Oregon is second with five titles and two second-place showings.
The event has been held in Las Vegas since 2013 with Garden Arena at the MGM Grand serving as host for the four four tournaments. T-Mobile has been the site of the event although the 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.