In the moment, it’s easy to point out the blunders. Arizona State didn’t bring it against Buffalo, and perhaps that could’ve been avoided by a win in the Pac-12 Tournament.
However, if you take the whole package, there was a lot to love about this season. ASU accomplished many ‘firsts’ under coach Bobby Hurley, a sweep of Arizona and a top-two conference finish included. Moving forward, those are welcoming signs for any program.
But, in the same breath, it’s hard not to feel like there could’ve been more. The Sun Devils had some atrocious losses, and coming up short in a down year for the Pac-12 may not settle well, especially after future seasons.
Ultimately, the best way to digest this season is one of progresses. ASU had three more wins than last year, advanced to consecutive NCAA Tournaments for the first time since 1980-81 and had three student-athletes on the all-conference team. Let’s see where they take it from here. – Trevor Booth
Bobby Hurley’s fourth year at Arizona State is best summarized by his postgame comments from the team’s semi-final loss at the conference tournament. He firmly reiterated that ASU deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament.
While that sentiment wasn’t universally agreed upon, one thing became certain: Hurley is turning ASU into a contender in the Pac-12.
The group known as “Guard U” a year ago was a flash in the pan, relying on an up-tempo pace and a high volume of perimeter shots. In 2019, the program’s points of emphasis shifted to rebounding and defense, factors both far easier to control on a game-to-game basis which showed in a 23-win season (12 in the conference).
More importantly, under Hurley, it’s becoming an expectation to qualify for the NCAA Tournament and compete for a league title. – Zach Pekale