Cats likely headed to San Diego as No. 1 seed

2014-03-16T00:00:00Z 2014-03-17T09:25:46Z Cats likely headed to San Diego as No. 1 seedBy Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 16, 2014 12:00 am  • 

LAS VEGAS — Arizona Wildcats freshman Aaron Gordon is ready to present a pretty good case to the NCAA tournament selection committee, but he really doesn’t have to.

Even with a 75-71 loss to UCLA in the final of the Pac-12 tournament on Saturday, the Wildcats are widely expected to receive a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed when the selections are announced today.

“We’re 30-4, and we were right in there with this game,” Gordon said. “We won the (Preseason) NIT. Won our conference. We have a lot of big wins. We’re one of the best defensive teams in the nation. What we’ve done has been well deserved.”

He has a point. Because of all that, there is no bubble for the Wildcats today. No wondering what region they’ll play in, nor what first-weekend pod they’ll be a part of. No wondering which day they’ll play, either.

When the selections are announced today at 3 p.m., barring a major surprise, Arizona is expected earn its first No. 1 NCAA tournament seed since 2003.

The Wildcats are also expected to play in the West Region, probably with an opening game against a low-major automatic qualifier Friday in San Diego.

If they win two games in San Diego, the Wildcats would advance to a Sweet 16 game in Anaheim, Calif., on March 27.

So for UA, basically, it’s expected to be a SoCal road to the Final Four. That’s the reward for busting through the regular season with only three losses and winning one of the toughest conferences in the country.

The only question really may be whether there is a potential spoiler sitting in that 8-9 bracket in San Diego, where the winner would likely face Arizona next Sunday.

There was a spoiler the last two times the Wildcats were a No. 1 seed, both times in Salt Lake City. In 2000, Arizona was upset by Dick Bennett’s defensive-minded, eighth-seeded Wisconsin Badgers in the second round.

And in 2003, ninth-seeded Gonzaga took the Wildcats to double overtime before UA hung on for a 96-95 win.

Overall, it’s the least suspense the Wildcats have faced entering Selection Sunday since probably 1998, when the defending national champions were a lock as a No. 1 seed after going 17-1 in Pac-10 play.

But, just in case, guard T.J. McConnell wasn’t quite pronouncing it a done deal as a No. 1 seed.

“If we are, great,” Mc-

Connell said. “If not, that’s all right, too. We’re just ready for next week. It doesn’t really matter.”

Copyright 2015 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Utah 6 1 0 0.857 16 3 0 0.842
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857 18 2 0 0.900
Stanford 5 2 0 0.714 14 5 0 0.737
Oregon State 5 2 0 0.714 13 5 0 0.722
Oregon 4 3 0 0.571 14 6 0 0.700
UCLA 3 4 0 0.429 11 9 0 0.550
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429 10 8 0 0.556
Washington 3 4 0 0.429 14 5 0 0.737
Washington State 3 4 0 0.429 9 10 0 0.474
Arizona State 2 5 0 0.286 11 10 0 0.524
California 1 6 0 0.143 11 9 0 0.550
USC 1 6 0 0.143 9 10 0 0.474

AP Top 25


Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Oregon State at
Arizona State
1/28 6:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona
1/28 8:00 pm
Stanford at
Washington
1/28 9:00 pm
Colorado at
USC
1/29 7:30 pm
Utah at
UCLA
1/29 8:00 pm
California at
Washington State
1/29 9:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona State
1/30 6:00 pm
Oregon State at
Arizona
1/30 8:00 pm
Stanford at
Washington State
1/31 6:00 pm
Colorado at
UCLA
1/31 8:30 pm
Utah at
USC
2/1 12:30 pm
California at
Washington
2/1 1:00 pm
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