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Bracketology: Arizona Wildcats projected as No. 2 seed in 2021 NCAA Tournament

Bracketology: Arizona Wildcats projected as No. 2 seed in 2021 NCAA Tournament

Arizona Wildcats guard Aarion McDonald (2) and Arizona Wildcats forward Cate Reese (25) celebrate a lead over the Arizona State Sun Devils during a game at the McKale Center, on Jan. 24, 2020.

Unfortunately, Arizona's magical season was cut short before postseason play began, but the Wildcats are expected to be better than they ever were before. 

In 2020-21, Arizona is expected to be a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN's latest bracketology projections. The Wildcats are predicted to play UC Davis at McKale Center in Tucson in the first round of the Austin region. The UA is the second-highest rated Pac-12 team in ESPN's bracket behind top-seeded Stanford in the Spokane region. 

Other Pac-12 teams in ESPN's bracketology include USC (9), Oregon (3), UCLA (3), Oregon State (5) and Arizona State (7). 

After finishing last season with a 24-7 record, two wins shy of a program best, the Wildcats return All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Aari McDonald, who received the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award given to the nation's top shooting guard.

Arizona also brings back All-Pac-12 forward Cate Reese, guard Helena Pueyo, center Semaj Smith and All-Pac-12 defender and wing Sam Thomas. Oklahoma transfer Shaina Pellington, who helped Canada qualify for the Olympics, is expected to start alongside McDonald in Arizona's backcourt. 

Arizona also signed a 2020 recruiting class with ESPN100 post player Lauren Ware, Indiana transfer Bendu Yeaney and ACC Sixth Player of the Year Trinity Baptiste, who is a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech. Since Yeaney's not a graduate transfer, her eligibility is unclear, but could receive a waiver by the NCAA considering she missed most of last season with an Achilles injury.

Contact sports content producer Justin Spears at 573-4312 or jspears@tucson.com. On Twitter @justinesports

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Justin writes stories and produces digital content about UA football and basketball and high school football. A Tucson native, Justin graduated from the UA in 2017 and is the host of the Wildcast Podcast and a radio host on ESPN Tucson.

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