Thanks to their front-loaded success this season, the Arizona Wildcats oddly could be a No. 4 seed in both the Pac-12 and NCAA basketball tournaments.
The Wildcats (23-6) dropped to fourth place in the conference race after losing at USC and UCLA last week, and they fell to No. 18 in both major polls Monday.
But while the Cats haven’t beaten a likely NCAA tournament-bound team in two months, their postseason résumé remains strong, partly because they beat highly rated Miami and Florida in December.
UA has an RPI of 13 and a Sagarin power rating of 25, suggesting a seeding in the 4 to 6 range.
Many bracket projections have the Wildcats seeded on the better end of that range, too: CBS’s Jerry Palm gives them a No. 3 seed, and a compilation done by the Bracket Project says the average seed given UA on Monday was 3.75. (ESPN’s “Bracketology” had UA at No. 4 in its last update, before the UA-UCLA game).
Arizona has been projected as high as a No. 2 seed this season, but coach Sean Miller said Saturday he didn’t know if the Cats were good enough to justify a No. 2.
“We may have played for a large part of the season at that level,” Miller said, “but at the end of the day … you look at us and we’re probably not one of the top eight teams in the country. Maybe we’re one of the top 25.
“I think for us it’s just about finishing strong and keeping things in perspective.”
Read more in Tuesday's Arizona Daily Star.