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NCAA Tourney: Beyond ASU Basketball’s First-Round Loss to Texas
By Ben Wong, DieHardDevil.com
March 21, 2014 5:18 PM

NCAA Tournament

To dwell on the final play of last night’s Arizona State – Texas basketball game would be unfair to what was a full fledged fight between two teams that competed at or near their highest levels. 

We watched one hell of a basketball game. It was the NCAA tournament at its finest, and that’s really the only way to describe it. 

Neither ASU nor Texas was expected to make a significant run in the tournament. This game was about exposure, and in this case you could make an argument that both teams helped their programs last night. 

Here’s what I took away from the game while keeping ASU’s season in perspective:

 

 

We see you, Jonathan Gilling

Gilling showed up big time last night, banging home 4 three’s on his way to a 15 point, 2 rebound, 2 assist effort in 35 minutes off the bench. While we will focus on deficiencies in Gilling’s game in future analysis, it was good to see a solid performance from one of the few primary rotation players that will be returning to ASU next season.

 

 

Draft stock update 

Jordan Bachynski and Jahii Carson were terrific last night, turning in prime time performances (JB: 25 points, 7 rebounds, JC: 19 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists) on a big stage. This was very important for two players that struggled mightily down the stretch for the Devils. I believe that this tournament game positioned Carson between pick 26 and pick 40 and potentially moved Bachynksi into the second round. 

IMG_8292Individually the duo are opposites. Carson is a natural scorer born and bred in the American AAU system. He’s been a highly touted recruit since middle school and has Youtube pages full of highlights dating back quite a few years. 

Bachynski on the other hand, has been a project for Herb Sendek since he arrived. While Carson is vastly undersized at 5’10” (he’s actually no taller than 5’9”), Bachynski towers at 7’2”. Carson’s natural gifts will find him a home in the NBA, while Bachynski’s size and work ethic will determine his basketball future. After a two year Mormon mission, Bachynski arrived at ASU with little to no fanfare but has advanced his game so much in Tempe that he should get his shot at a professional career.

It will be interesting to see where Jahii and Jordan go and to consider the impact of their performances on last night’s biggest stage. 

 

 

Exposure 

The Devils’ skill and resilience were on display last night, and recruits and their families, boosters and the national basketball media should have taken notice. Performances like this one reflect positively on ASU Basketball and the university as a whole.

 

ASU Coach Herb Sendek, Jahii Carson and Jordan Bachynski at post-game press conference

 

Taking It All In

Despite ASU’s first round loss, last night was by no means a failure. The Sun Devils had an amazing season, beat rival U of A in one of the best games in all of college basketball, pushed themselves further onto the national stage and achieved their first NCAA tournament birth since the pre-beard reign of James Harden.

Many good teams couldn’t accomplish what Herb Sendek and co. did at ASU. It’s important to realize that while the 2013-2014 ASU basketball campaign has ended in heartbreaking fashion, it was one hell of a ride this year for hoops in Tempe, Arizona. 

 

This image took over Twitter after the game. March Madness exemplified.

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