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
Arizona 16 2 0 0.889 34 4 0 0.895
Utah 13 5 0 0.722 26 9 0 0.743
Oregon 12 5 0 0.706 25 10 0 0.714
UCLA 11 7 0 0.611 22 14 0 0.611
Arizona State 9 9 0 0.500 19 16 0 0.543
Stanford 9 9 0 0.500 22 13 0 0.629
Oregon State 8 10 0 0.444 16 14 0 0.533
Colorado 7 10 0 0.412 16 16 0 0.500
Washington State 7 11 0 0.389 13 18 0 0.419
California 6 11 0 0.353 17 15 0 0.531
Washington 5 13 0 0.278 16 15 0 0.516
USC 3 14 0 0.176 12 19 0 0.387

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Arizona at
3/28 78-85
Stanford at
Old Dominion
3/31 6:00 pm
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