DAYTON, Ohio — Bobby Hurley isn't intimidated by the NCAA Tournament, of course, but the former Duke star usually doesn't have to prove he belongs here.

Hurley, the explosive point guard who led the Blue Devils to back-to-back national championships in 1991-92, is the third-year coach of Arizona State, which plays Syracuse on Wednesday night in a First Four play-in game. Both teams got at-large bids, so naturally there are some fans grumbling about their tournament worthiness.

"It was a very emotional couple of days," Hurley said Tuesday. "Just a roller coaster leading into Selection Sunday and just playing different scenarios out, the tension and the anxiety about wanting to be in this field and that we deserve to play."

Hurley previously coached at Buffalo, where he led the Bulls to their first-ever tournament game, which was a quick one-and-done at the hands of West Virginia. So he's looking for his first tournament win as a coach.

The Orange also have the challenge of proving they should be here. The Atlantic Coast Conference squad was teetering on the bubble but was rewarded with the at-large big thanks to its difficult non-conference schedule and some key wins away from home, including at Miami and Louisville.

"We understand this is just the beginning," Syracuse guard Frank Howard said. "We don't want to get too high on this. We want to still have perspective and still understand what we're here for. So we're all just focused."


VIRGINIA’S HUNTER IS OUT: Top-ranked and top-seeded Virginia will be without forward De'Andre Hunter, the ACC's sixth man of the year, for the NCAA Tournament because of a broken left wrist.

The school announced Tuesday that Hunter, a 6-foot-7 swingman who can also play guard, suffered the injury during the ACC Tournament, but did not say how. He will have surgery Monday and miss 10 to 12 weeks.

Hunter, a redshirt freshman, sat out last season, but made an immediate impact once he joined coach Tony Bennett's lineup. He averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in 33 games, reached double figures 16 times and led the Cavaliers in scoring on six occasions. His scoring high was 23 points in his fourth game, a 73-53 victory over Monmouth on Nov. 19. He recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 66-37 victory at Pittsburgh on Feb. 24.

The Cavaliers, the top seed in the South Region, open NCAA Tournament play Friday night against UMBC in Charlotte, North Carolina.


ACKERMAN’S CONTRACT EXTENDED: The Big East Conference extended the contract of Commissioner Val Ackerman through June 2021.

The league announced the three-year extension on Tuesday, three days after the conference played its men's basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden for the 36th consecutive year. Six of the 10 teams received bids to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

Villanova, a current No. 1 seed, won the NCAA title in 2016.

Four women's teams received bids to the NCAA Tournament on Monday.

In nearly five years on the job, Ackerman has presided over the rebirth of the conference following the decision in 2012 of seven current schools to separate from the original Big East Conference. Butler, Creighton and Xavier joined the present configuration.

"I'm very proud of what we've done to fulfill the vision of our Presidents in re-establishing the conference as a leader on the national college sports landscape," Ackerman said. "I want to laud our conference staff for their great work and extraordinary dedication."

She led the move of the conference office in Rhode Island to its current location in New York City and has managed the league's partnerships with Fox Sports.


PURDUE GOES OLD SCHOOL: Purdue guard Dakota Mathias prefers old-school basketball.

Over the last four seasons he has seen how coach Matt Painter still wins with a traditional inside-out offense, how the program's "play hard" moto means something and why digging down on defense matters. Mathias and the Boilermakers' other three senior starters want to show NCAA Tournament fans that basic fundamentals and experience are always in style, perhaps especially so with the sport under a cloud of scandal.

"I think we're an example of everything that's right with college basketball," Mathias said. "We have four seniors staying in school, getting their degrees, playing the game the right way and never getting in trouble."

With the one-and-done parade holding steady, salacious scandals tainting some of the country's most powerful programs and an ongoing FBI investigation threatening to overshadow the sport's marquee event, the Boilermakers (28-6) are a refreshing throwback.

Here, the pro aspirations of Mathias, Vincent Edwards, Isaac Haas and P.J. Thompson have been put on hold temporarily as they focus on teamwork and chase overall goals.

After earning a No. 2 seed, the school's highest in two decades, the close-knit Boilers are now studying Friday's opponent, 15th-seeded Cal State Fullerton (20-11).

"It's about growth and development and getting better together and getting a degree and going on to play pro basketball," Painter said. "I think this group will be the model when it comes to future classes for us, outside the one with (Robbie) Hummel, E'Twaun (Moore) and (JaJuan) Johnson."