ASU and Stanford are both considered on the bubble for the Big Dance, although they’ll likely need to win the Pac-12′s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament to do so. The winner of this round one matchup will face UCLA on Thursday.
The Sun Devils fell to the Cardinal 62-59 in Tempe just over a month ago. Stanford has won six in a row against Arizona State and ousted the Sun Devils from the tournament in two of the past three years. Arizona State fans will recall that the Cardinal eliminated ASU from the conference tournament last year with an 85-65 win.
In order to advance in this year’s Pac-12 tournament, ASU’s starting lineup will have to improve on its recent mediocre performance. The Sun Devils will turn to freshman guard Jahii Carson, who averaged 17.7 points per game and made the All-Pac-12 first team, and senior swingman Carrick Felix (14.2), a 51 percent shooter.
On defense, ASU must contend with Stanford forwards Dwight Powell (15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game) and Josh Huestis (10.5, 9.3). The Cardinal also boasts an exceptionally accurate three-point shooter in John Gage (44 percent).
The 2013 Pac-12 Tournament schedule includes:
First Round – Wednesday, March 13
3 p.m.: No. 8 Stanford vs. No. 9 Arizona State
5:30 p.m.: No. 5 Colorado vs. No. 12 Oregon State
9 p.m.: No. 10 USC vs. No. 10 Utah
11:30 p.m.: No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Washington State
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 14
3 p.m.: No. 1 UCLA vs. Stanford/ASU (Game 1)
5:30 p.m.: No. 4 Arizona vs. Colorado/OSU (Game 2)
9 p.m.: No. 2 California vs. USC/Utah (Game 3)
11:30 p.m.: No. 3 Oregon vs. Washington/USC (Game 4)
Semifinals – Friday, March 15
9 p.m.: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner
11:30 p.m.: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner
Championship – Saturday, March 16
11 p.m.: Semifinals Winners