ASU, UofA still have NCAA tournament goals in the Palm of their hands

Arizona Sports News online

It’s amazing how a week can change one’s perception in the up-and-down world of college basketball.

Less than two weeks ago the Arizona State Sun Devils were on top of the world, fresh off their big double-overtime win over second-ranked Arizona in Tempe. While down I-10 the skeptics were wondering if the Wildcats would be a number one seed heading into the tournament, much less make much noise when they got there, still struggling to find their identity without versatile forward Brandon Ashley.

After a big road sweep at Utah and Colorado it appears, for now at least, order has been restored in Tucson. The Sun Devils didn’t look the part in lopsided losses to the Buffs and Utes. With that being said, the sky isn’t falling for Herb Sendek’s team. At least not yet.

“It’s funny how fans always look at their own team kind of in a vacuum and overreact to the most recent performance or couple performances,” long-time CBS Sports bracket expert Jerry Palm told’s Brad Cesmat in a recent phone interview. “Arizona State…they’d have to really collapse. It would take more than just two bad games to knock them out at this point.”

Palm said people fail to realize the Sun Devils are just one of several teams under the committee’s microscope and few, even the best like Syracuse, get through a whole season without a wart or two. Another scenerio which helps ASU is the expanded 68-team field. However, the Sun Devils face a host of teams in the coming days who are desperate to impress as well, so don’t look too far ahead on the calendar just yet.

“You want be giving the committee a reason to move you up the bracket, not down,” Palm said. “It’s going to be competitive at the bottom of the bracket this year. You don’t want to be a part of that competition if you can avoid it.”

As for Sean Miller’s ‘Cats, Palm has them as one-seed. For now, at least. The jury is still out on how good UofA is without Ashley.

“That injury is the kind of thing that could effect their seeding,” he explained. “If the committee thinks this really isn’t quite as good a team as the one that build that very impressive early-season resume.”