Arizona State's Harden hopes to regain scoring touch

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MIAMI-- Both Arizona State and Arizona will see first-round action today in the NCAA basketball tournament. ASU will play first, facing Temple in a South Region game, while the UA will take on Utah in a later Midwest Regional game.

Even the Pac-10 player of the year can have a lousy 60 seconds. Or a subpar 40 minutes.

Arizona State's James Harden missed a free throw, layup and 3-pointer in the final minute of last week's league tournament championship game, which the Sun Devils lost by three points to Southern California.

Harden was held to 10 points, half his average of 20.8.

He'll try to bounce back today when the sixth-seeded Sun Devils face 11th seed Temple in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the South regional at Miami.

In his two years with the Sun Devils, Harden has helped them post back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in 28 years.

This season they're 24-9 and in the NCAA field for the first time since 2003.

The chance for a tournament berth is one reason the 6-foot-5 Harden decided not to turn pro a year ago after his freshman season.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)