Michigan State's loss means Wildcats could be No. 1

2013-12-05T00:00:00Z 2013-12-05T00:16:08Z Michigan State's loss means Wildcats could be No. 1Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Wildcats could be the No. 1-ranked team in the country for the first time in over a decade if they beat UNLV on Saturday, now that North Carolina has upset No. 1 Michigan State 79-65 tonight at East Lansing, Mich.

Arizona has not been ranked No. 1 since the Wildcats spent most of the 2002-03 season there, entering the NCAA tournament that season at No. 2 after they lost to UCLA in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament. The Wildcats reached the NCAA West Regional final before losing to Kansas 78-75.

While that team, which featured Luke Walton, Jason Gardner and Andre Igoudala, was the last top-ranked team of the Lute Olson era, the Wildcats also reached the Elite Eight of the 2005 NCAA tournament behind Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire.

The Wildcats already became the highest-rated team in the Sean Miller era on Monday, when they jumped to No. 2 after beating Duke to win the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Arizona was the only other team to receive first-place votes in the Associated Press media Top 25 and the USA Today coaches Top 25.

However, there are several other undefeated teams remaining, including Ohio State, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Wichita State and Iowa State.

Ohio State had the highest Sagarin rating as of Tuesday morning, but the Buckeyes have beaten only one Top 50 Sagarin team -- winning at then-No. 17 Marquette -- while the rest of the Buckeyes' wins have been at home.

UA has beaten three Top 50 Sagarin teams -- San Diego State, Drexel and Duke. The Wildcats won at San Diego State and beat Drexel and Duke in New York last week.

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