Despite ending the regular season with a 10-game winning streak, the Arizona Wildcats will not be participating in the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona was left out of the field of 64, which was revealed Monday morning. It’s the second straight year Jay Johnson’s team has failed to qualify for the postseason. The Wildcats made it in each of Johnson’s first two years, including a run to the final game of the College World Series in 2016.
Arizona finished the season winning 13 of its final 14. That wasn’t enough to impress the NCAA Selection Committee, which couldn’t get past the Wildcats’ shaky start or their 3-16 record vs. top-50 RPI teams.
Johnson had hoped the Cats’ strong finish and above-.500 Pac-12 record (15-14) would be enough. However, unlike last year, Arizona (32-24) wasn’t even among the first four out. Those teams were Houston, Missouri, Texas State and UCF.
Many were perplexed by the inclusion of TCU, which had an RPI of 59 – 10 spots below Arizona – and a sub-.500 record in the Big 12 (14-15 even if you include the conference tournament). The Horned Frogs were the last team in.
Pac-12 champion UCLA is the No. 1 overall seed. Stanford is No. 11. Oregon State is No. 16. Arizona State and Cal also earned at-large berths.
Johnson and some of his players are slated to speak to the media later this morning. We’ll have their reaction to the bracket and full coverage later today.