ASU selected for NIT, will host Detroit in opener

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State was named a No. 3 seed in the NIT on Sunday and will meet Detroit in a first-round game at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday.

The Sun Devils (21-12) were in the NCAA tournament hunt after a road victory at Colorado three weeks ago but struggled down the stretch and split two games in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas last week, beating Stanford in overtime in the first round before falling to UCLA in a heartbreaker in the quarterfinals.

“We want to build off the momentum we had in Las Vegas,” coach Herb Sendek said after the NIT announcement.

ASU freshman point guard Jahii Carson was named to the six-man Pac-12 all-tournament team, the only player chosen from a team that did make the semifinal round. He had 55 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in two games, leading the tournament in scoring despite playing at least one fewer game than the other top players.

Carson is averaging 18.3 points and five assists a game and is the leading freshman scorer in the Pac-12 through the league tournament.

Detroit (20-12) finished second in the Horizon League in the regular season but lost to Wright State 56-54 in the conference tournament semifinals.

The Titans are led by their point guard, 6-foot-3 Ray McCallum, who was the Horizon League player of the year after averaging 18.8 points and 4.5 assists per game. McCallum’s father, Ray, is their coach.

“We look forward to hosting a really strong Detroit team led by a dynamic player in Ray McCallum,” Sendek said.

Detroit beat NCAA tournament team Akron and split two games with Horizon League tournament champion and NCAA invitee Valparaiso. The Titans also played at Big East opponents Miami, Pitt and Syracuse but lost to all three, to the Orange by four points on the road.  

The ASU-Detroit winner will play the winner of the Baylor-Long Beach State game at a site that has not been determined. Baylor is a No. 2 seed.

Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama and Southern Miss are the No. 1 seeds in the 32-team field. Kentucky is the top seed in ASU’s bracket.

Two other Pac-12 teams also made the field: Stanford, a No. 4 seed, and Washington, seeded sixth.