Boggling Brackets? Sendek Feels Your Pain

These days the Sun Devil nation is consumed with Bracketology – the inexact science of predicting which teams will make the NCAA Tournament and which will be left out. It can be an exercise in frustration and that's why ASU Head Coach Herb Sendek steered clear from it. Until Monday that is…

"I have spent zero time engaged in trying to figure who's in and who's out, until last night," said Sendek. "I looked at it for the first time and it was a big mistake. I immediately started to play those mental gymnastics, which at the end of the day are fruitless, because there is only one group whose opinion really counts, and that's the committee's. We can only help ourselves by winning as many games as possible."

Actually winning just one game is more than likely enough for the maroon and gold to feel confident on Selection Sunday. The Sun Devil skipper naturally doesn't want to start speculating whether a win against USC on Thursday is a must for his squad or not.

"I know this - winning is better than not winning," he stated pragmatically. "It increases our chances, so we're going to do everything we can toward that end." Not only is ASU playing a team on a so-called neutral site just a few miles from their campus, but they will face a squad who's on a big roll right now. "We play a team in USC that is red hot, a team that's coming off a great win against Stanford at home," Sendek noted, "has won 11 out of their last 15 in our conference and is very capable of making a deep run into the NCAA Tournament."

Both teams split the meetings between them, each protecting their home court. The Sun Devils lost in Los Angeles 67-53, and less than two weeks ago routed the Trojans in Tempe 80-66. The later contest was marred in controversy, at least from USC's perspective. On that afternoon ASU was awarded 39 free throws compared to USC's 11 and the Sun Devils were called for 14 fouls while the Trojans committed 29.

Sendek indicated that he and his players don't talk about their chances for the big dance when they convene for practices. "We get together and we go to work. There's so much that you have to get done in the time you're together, in terms of preparation, in terms of practicing, that we don't typically just sit around in a group and have these discussion panels," said Sendek. "That's not how we invest our time."

Leave it for the Sun Devil faithful to pick up the slack…

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