1. Arizona State Sun Devils
Despite a 5-0 start and a key victory over 15th-ranked Mississippi State, Arizona State was left out of the latest AP Top-25 poll. The decision may come to the dismay of Sun Devil nation, but it shows how much the team still has to improve on.
ASU struggled for the majority of their game against Utah State, but was eventually bailed out by the phenomenal play of guard Luguentz Dort, who finished the contest with 33 points.
The freshman was named most valuable player of the MGM Resorts Heavyweight Bracket after averaging 25 points, eight rebounds and three assists in two victories over the Bulldogs and Aggies.
Following his performance in the tournament, Dort bumped his scoring average up to 23 points per game, among the top-25 scorers in the nation and second in the Pac-12.
While Dort has done his fair share on the offensive end, it has been a balanced attack for ASU, who currently sits at No. 1 in the nation at nearly 47 rebounds per game.
This mark has helped on both sides of the ball, as 14 offensive rebounds per game limits second-chance opportunities on the defensive end.
ASU’s next two matchups will come against Nebraska Omaha (3-3) and Texas Southern (2-4).
Following those contests, the Sun Devils will advance into their toughest four-game stretch of non-conference play as they face No. 5 Nevada, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and No. 2 Kansas, with the first three games all away from Wells Fargo Arena.