Best Spectator-Sports Smokin' Deal, Men's Division - 2008
ASU Sun Devils men's basketball
Not so long ago, a ticket to a Sun Devils b-ball game had all the value of Confederate currency circa 1866. But those were the dark days when the Devils were the perennial lapdogs of Lute Olson's Arizona Wildcats. The worm began to turn in 2006, when the hopeless Rob Evans was replaced by Herb Sendek, late of the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the mighty Atlantic Coast Conference. Sendek was the ACC Coach of the Year in 2004, which is kind of like saying that, for one shining season, he was the best college basketball coach on the planet. By all rights, he should have pocketed the equivalent Pac-10 hardware for 2007-'08, when he took the new-look Devils to a 21-13 record, a berth in the National Invitational Tournament, and two — two! — wins against UofA. Suh-weet. The '08-'09 squad may yet net him the award — and, much more important — a berth in the NCAA tournament, because Sendek's two top players, phenom guard James Harden and team anchor Jeff Pendergraph, rejected early entry into the NBA to return for one more campaign. As for you, dear bandwagon-jumper, you're the beneficiary of the Devils' many moons of mediocrity. Wells Fargo Arena single-game tickets start at about the cost of a Starbucks Mocha Valencia. Behind-the-bench courtside? They can be had for as little as $20. You just have to try a little harder to get 'em than you used to.