LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Lamont Jones #12 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts from the bench in the second half while taking on the Oregon State Beavers in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Bracketology: Arizona Looking For Pac-10 Title To Improve Seeding For Big Dance

The Wildcats could improve their projected five-seed ranking for the Big Dance by winning the Pac-10 Tournament.

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Arizona Wildcats Bracketology 2011 (Update)

As the Pac-10 Tournament gets underway, the Arizona Wildcats are looking to win the title in order to improve their seeding for the upcoming NCAA Tournament. They are currently ranked as a five seed in the Southeast region by ESPN's Joe Lunardi, whose latest bracket has Arizona paired up with Boston College in the opening round. A win in this game would likely set up an all-Wildcat battle in round 2 against four-seed Kentucky. Arizona could play one-seed Pittsburgh, who suffered a disappointing 76-74 loss to Connecticut on Thursday in the Big East Tournament, in the Sweet 16.

SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean also has the Wildcats ranked as a five seed for the NCAA Tournament in his latest edition of bracketology. Dobbertean, though, has the Wildcats placed in the Southwest region instead of the Southeast region. Dobbertean's bracket pits the Wildcats against either Michigan State or Viriginia Tech in the first round, and Big East power Louisville looms in round two as the four-seed. Two-seed Purdue or three-seed North Carolina could await the Wildcats in the Sweet 16 should Arizona advance that far.

Right now, the Wildcats will focus on winning the Pac-10 Tournament in order to give themselves a chance to improve their seeding for the Big Dance. Arizona took the first step toward achieving this goal by beating Oregon State 78-69 in the quarterfinals on Thursday. They play USC in semifinal match-up on Friday.


Bracketology: Arizona Basketball Projected To Be Fifth Seed In NCAA Tournament

The Arizona Wildcats (25-6, 14-4 Pac-10) are the regular season champions of the Pac-10, and with that comes a few guarantees: a seat at the table of March Madness, and a fairly high seeding at that.

Joe Lunardi, ESPN's bracketologist, has seeded the Wildcats as the fifth seed in the West region, taking on the winner of Michigan State and Virginia Tech.

SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean also has placed Arizona as a fifth seed, but in the Southwest region playing the winner of Marquette and Virginia Tech.

We've discussed in depth the reasons for the low ranking of this particular Wildcats team, but the fact of the matter is the following: Arizona has not defeated a currently ranked team this entire season, going 0-3 against teams ranked in the top 25. 

The Wildcats are only 2-2 in their last four games, another factor in the decision making process of Selection Sunday. Finally, the Pac-10 has been given such a bad reputation over the past few years, and it's mostly deserved. That doesn't mean it's all bad, though. Arizona should take a low seeding as a personal affront and use as motivation to handily defeat their competition in the first two rounds of the tournament.


Arizona Wildcats Capture Pac-10 Title With Victory Over Oregon

NCAA basketball in Tucson has officially been revived by coach Sean Miller. The Arizona Wildcats (25-6, 14-4) locked up the Pac-10 regular season conference championship today after defeating the Oregon Ducks 90-82. This was their first conference title since 2004-05, and is a sweet moment for a school that had fallen so far in the past few seasons.

Kyle Fogg led the team with 20 points, and Derrick Williams added 14 in the winning effort. Arizona will return to the NCAA Tournament in 2011 after their 25-season streak ended in 2010. With the win, the Wildcats secured the No. 1 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament this week, and have greatly improved their profile for Selection Sunday.

Arizona has now won 12 Pac-10 titles, moving into third place on the all-time list (UCLA leads the league with 30 titles, and California has achieved the top mark 15 times). Both Stanford and Oregon State have won the conference 11 times.

In the end, it was consistency that won out for the Wildcats in 2010-11. While most of the Pac-10 conference failed to win on a regular basis, Arizona defeated the inferior teams and didn't let pesky squads like ASU, California or Stanford get in their way. That's how you win a conference, by executing against the teams that can't match up to your talent.

For more coverage on this exciting moment in Arizona basketball history, check out AZ Desert Swarm for all your Wildcat needs.


Arizona Wildcats Bracketology 2011

The Arizona Wildcats are 24-6 overall and 13-4 in the Pac-10 heading into tonight's season finale against the Oregon Ducks, and a victory in tonight's game would give the Wildcats their first regular-season Pac-10 championship since 2004-05. This team, however, aims to do much more than just win the regular-season title. Led by star forward Derrick Williams, Arizona will be looking to make a deep run in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Let's take a look at how the Wildcats are positioned for the Big Dance.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi's most recent piece (updated Friday) has the Wildcats holding the fifth seed in the East region, with a match-up against either Boston College (18-11 overall, 8-7 in ACC play) or Michigan (18-12 overall, 8-9 in Big Ten play) set for the first round. A further look at this bracket reveals that the Wildcats could take on four-seed St. John's in the second round; if the Wildcats can best the Red Storm, then they would most likely take on Lunardi's projected top overall seed Ohio State in the Sweet 16.

Of course, bracketolgists have different views on teams. In his latest bracket (also updated Friday), SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean ranks Arizona slightly lower than Lunardi, placing the Wildcats as the sixth seed in the West region. Dobbertean's bracket features the Wildcats against last year's runner-up Michigan State in the first round, with a match-up against third seed Syracuse possibly looming in round two. The Wildcats could see second-seeded San Diego State in the Sweet 16 if they manage to advance that far.

Only this month's NCAA Tournament will tell which, if either, of these two brackets correctly predicts Arizona's postseason path. One thing remains constant between these two brackets though: the Wildcats will have to play well to advance far in the always unpredictable NCAA Tournament.


NCAA Basketball Rankings: Arizona Wildcats Drop To 18th After Winless Weekend

After discussing whether or not the Arizona Wildcats deserved to be ranked 10th in the nation, UA proved us right and lost both of their road games in Los Angeles this past weekend.

Both the AP and the ESPN/USA Today polls dropped Arizona down to 18th overall, giving the program a reality check late in the season. Losing two games in a row is a bad sign for any program, but the Wildcats really need to find consistency soon if they want to make a postseason push.

The bracketologists, however, didn't flinch when it came to taking Arizona's winless weekend into consideration. SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean keeps Arizona up in the rankings, dropping them only one seed down to a six seed. ESPN's Joe Lunardi keeps Arizona as a fifth seed, having them play Missouri State.

The Arizona Wildcats have two games remaining in the regular season, both home games against Oregon State on Thursday and Oregon on Saturday. Then, UA is slated to play in the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles on March 10th. After that weekend, we will know for sure if this team is ready for a long run in March Madness, or if they are going to continue their downward spiral.

Full AP rankings can be found here.


NCAA Basketball Rankings: Arizona Wildcats Now Ranked 10th Overall, Do They Deserve It?

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.


NCAA Bracketology: With Six Games Left In Season, Arizona Wildcats Projected As Five Seed In Southeast Region

The Arizona Wildcats, after posting a win against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Sunday, have jumped to number 12 in the national rankings. The Wildcats are 21-4 overall, and they lead the Pac-10 with a 10-2 conference record.

SB Nation's resident bracketologist Chris Dobbertean has the Wildcats projected as the fifth seed in the Southeast region, which would leave them with a first-round match-up against the Valparaiso Crusaders (19-7) of the Horizon Conference. A win in that game would most likely pit the Wildcats against the North Carolina Tar Heel in what would be an exciting and entertaining second round contest.

The Wildcats could claim their highest seed since the 2005 NCAA Tournament, when they received a three seed. Since that time, the Wildcats have experienced a relatively disappointing stretch: an eight seed in 2006, an eight seed in 2007, a 10 seed in 2008, a 12 seed in 2009, and no appearance at all last year (which put an end to a streak of 25 straight NCAA appearances).

Of course, a high seed doesn't guarantee an Elite Eight or Final Four berth in the same way that a low seed doesn't guarantee a first-round exit. In 1999, for instance, Arizona entered the NCAA tournament as a four seed but crashed out in the first round. The Wildcats in 2009, meanwhile, entered the tournament as the 12 seed in the Midwest region and made an impressive run to the Sweet 16. March Madness is unpredictable, and anything can happen. That being said, having a high seed certainly doesn't hurt a team's chances.

For now, Arizona will try to secure the highest seed possible by finishing out their final six regular season games on a strong note. Arizona currently leads the Pac-10 with a 10-2 conference record, but the UCLA Bruins (9-3) and Washington Huskies (9-4) are still in the hunt. The Wildcats will face the Huskies at home on Saturday, February 9th and the Bruins on the road the following Saturday, on February 26th.

Arizona will look to clinch victories in these two games to bolster the chances of winning their first Pac-10 regular season title since 2005. That 2005 Wildcat squad, as mentioned before, entered the NCAA tournament as a three seed. That team also made a run to the Elite Eight. With star forward Derrick Williams leading the way, the Wildcats and their fans can only hope that this season produces similar, if not better, results. 


NCAA Basketball Rankings: Arizona Wildcats Move To 12th In AP Top 25 Poll

Another solid week for the Arizona Wildcats (21-4, 10-2), who moved up to 12th overall in this week's AP Top 25 poll.

UA defeated the Arizona St. Sun Devils 67-52 last night in Tempe behind a strong effort from Kyle Fogg. Derrick Williams only scored 11 points, but that was all that they needed.

Arizona passed three Big East teams, Connecticut, Villanova and Syracuse, all teams that suffered losses last week. Syracuse has slid a long way recently, going 2-6 in their last eight games after starting the season 18-0.

1. Kansas (22) 24-1
2. Ohio St. (14) 24-1
3. Texas (23) 22-3
4. Pittsburgh (6) 23-2
5. Duke 23-2
6. San Diego St. 25-1
7. BYU 24-2
8. Notre Dame 21-4
9. Georgetown 20-5
10. Wisconsin 19-5
11. Purdue 20-5
12. Arizona 21-4
13. Connecticut 19-5
14. Florida 20-5
15. Villanova 19-6
16. Louisville 19-6
17. Syracuse 20-6
18. Vanderbilt 18-6
19. North Carolina 18-6
20. Missouri 19-6
21. Texas A&M 19-5
22. Kentucky 17-7
23. Temple 19-5
24. Xavier 18-6
25. Utah St. 23-3


Bracketology: Arizona Wildcats Currently 6 Seed In West Region

According to SBNation’s resident bracketologist Chris Dobbertean, the Arizona Wildcats will be the sixth seed in the West region, facing off against the Richmond Spiders of the Atlantic 10.

The Wildcats would have a tough road ahead of them, having to face a very talented Villanova team should both of them advance past the first round. Nothing is a guarantee in the NCAA Tournament, but getting ’Nova would be a tough matchup.

Do you think UA is ranked a little low? Share your insights in the comments section, and go check out Arizona Desert Swarm for Arizona Wildcats coverage.

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