The Arizona Wildcats, after sweeping the Washington schools this past weekend, have moved to tenth overall in the ESPN/USA Today rankings with a 23-4 record. This ranking is at odds with what the bracketologists have been saying recently, with Chris Dobbertean slotting them at a 5 seed despite their gaudy record. ESPN and Joe Lunardi echo this ranking, slotting them against 12th-seeded Minnesota in the West region.
What is the cause of this? Have the bracketologists been blinded by their "East Coast Bias"? Does a legendary program like Arizona get a little extra love from the pollsters? After a quick review of their schedule this season, the latter seems to be correct.
According to ESPN, the Arizona Wildcats haven't defeated a currently ranked basketball team this year. Three of their four losses have come against ranked teams (Kansas, BYU, Washington) and their out-of-conference schedule was fairly lackluster this season.
It should come as no surprise that Arizona's Strength of Schedule is 48, which is mediocre at best. Arizona State's SoS is 51, which should give you a good comparison of schedule quality.
In the end, the rankings encompass a multitude of factors, one being whether or not your team wins. Arizona has passed this test with flying colors, and their record of 23-4 (12-2 in Pac-10 play) is nothing to scoff at. But there is credence to the fact that bracketologists are hesitant to rank them too highly - they just haven't proven anything against the top tier in 2010-2011. That's why they play the games, right?
Check out the full rankings at SBNation.com.