There’s no doubt Arizona will compete in the 2023 NCAA tournament, but what it will be and whether it can stay in the West has been in question after losing games on back-to-back weekends earlier this month.
But a home win by the LA Schools last weekend, including a big win over UCLA, has put the Wildcats back in the hunt for a No. 1 and a chance to play fairly close to home for the first two weekends.
As Tuesday begins, Arizona’s NET ranking is 11th, up from one spot last week. The Wildcats have been as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 15 while consistently ranked in the top 4 last season en route to earning the No. 1 spot in the West.
UA is 6-2 in Quad 1 games, third most Quad 1 wins are tied but there aren’t many Q1 chances left. The game is Thursday in Washington state barely a Quad 1 game right now, with WSU ranked 75th on the NET, and after that the next potential Q1 games are March 2-4 at USC and UCLA. Six regular season games remaining are currently Quad 2 affairs, along with two Quad 4 matchups against Oregon State and at Cal.
Speaking of WSU, assuming Arizona avenges Thursday’s home loss to the Cougars will throw them further down the NET and turn that Jan. 7 setback into a Quad 3 loss, the only notable blemish on the Wildcats’ resume .
When it comes to NCAA tournament predictions, Arizona is firmly placed at #2 according to BracketMatrix.com. Of the 77 projected brackets it has on its website, 44 have the Wildcats as No. 2. There are eight that have the UA at No. 1, but also have 25 at No. 3 and one at No. 4. The Majority of The 3 (and the lonely 4) are from brackets updated before defeating UCLA, which is also a #2 consensus on BracketMatrix.
SB Nation’s Blogging the Bracket has Arizona seeded No. 2 in the west, opening in Denver against Milwaukee before playing the Clemson/New Mexico winner. A potential Sweet 16 matchup with UConn is on the horizon in Las Vegas, with a rematch against Houston for the Elite Eight.
Bleacher Report also ranked Arizona as West No. 2, with Iowa State as a Sweet 16 matchup before taking on Houston for a trip to the Final Four, while CBS has Arizona as West No. 2 with Gonzaga and Kansas in potential second weekend has opponents.
ESPN has the Wildcats as the #2 in the Midwest, but then again Joe Lunardy also has 11 Big Ten schools (only one of which ranks in the Associated Press’s top 25) in the field, so maybe the Twitter hack he experienced over the weekend didn’t clear up.