The Bracketology Report: Arizona
Editor's note: Each week Bracketology Insider will take an in-depth look at teams headed for the NCAA Tournament ... or not.
Week in review
In what should be the least dangerous road trip in the Pac-10, Arizona (RPI No. 21, SOS No. 29) stumbled in Seattle last Thursday, losing 96-83 at Washington (RPI No. 113 RPI, SOS No. 104. As Selection Sunday gets closer, this could be a loss that comes back to haunt the Wildcats. It already contributed to a two seed-line drop in the latest projections, but really hurts in the Pac-10 race as Arizona now trails Stanford by three games. The Cardinal has some room for error, but Arizona has now made two of the unforced variety (losing to Southern Cal as well as the Huskies).
A close game became a misleading final score after Washington outscored Arizona, 27-12, down the stretch. The Wildcats gave themselves little chance to win by committing 21 turnovers and allowing the Huskies to shoot 52 percent. Arizona also had trouble containing 5-8 point guard Nate Robinson, who scored 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting.
Arizona recovered in time to finish the trip with a 61-57 victory at Washington State (RPI No. 171, SOS No. 169) on Saturday. Despite shooting a season-low 39 percent against the defensive-minded Cougars, the nation's top scoring team won with the help of a late Channing Frye jumper along with a 45-24 rebounding edge. It marked the 37th straight win for Arizona in the series.
Arizona gets a huge chance to make up ground on Stanford (RPI No. 7, SOS No. 95) this Saturday in Palo Alto. The Cardinal dominated the Wildcats during an 82-72 win in Tucson just under a month ago. Yet, while Stanford has won four straight in Tucson, the Wildcats enter this game with a four-game winning over the Cardinal at Maples Pavilion.
In the January encounter, Arizona shot just 36 percent, including 4-for-21 from 3-point range. The Wildcats were down by 20 with four minutes to go and rallied late save it from being the worst home loss in Lute Olson's 21 seasons in the desert. Freshman point guard Mustafa Shakur led all scorers with 20 points, but Stanford put five men in double figures.
With such a big revenge game looming, the possibility of looking ahead always exists. Arizona will be fighting that and more when it visits improving California on Thursday. The first meeting this season was never close. Arizona led by 28 points at half and by as many as 30 in the final 10 minutes. Hassan Adams led the Wildcats with 19 points. Overall, Arizona has won 13 of its last 14 meetings with Cal.
The Wildcats are No. 16 this week on The Bracketology Report national seeding chart. This makes Arizona a No. 4 seed. That's a drop from No. 8 on the S-Curve and the final No. 2 seed position just one week ago.
Obviously, the loss at Washington hurt the Wildcats tremendously. Beating Stanford probably won't push Arizona all the way back where it was last week, but will start the road to recovery toward a very high NCAA seed.
Games of the Week Arizona fans should root FOR and AGAINST the teams in ALL CAPS. For MARQUETTE @ DePaul (Sat.)
Oklahoma @ TEXAS (Sun.)
Against Arizona State @ STANFORD (Thur.)
PEPPERDINE @ Gonzaga (Thur.)
Inside the Numbers Additional considerations for the NCAA Selection Committee include: "Good" wins
(vs. RPI 1-25) N-Texas
(vs. RPI 26-50) Marquette
(vs. RPI 51-100) @Saint Louis, San Diego State, Lafayette, California, UCLA, Oregon
(vs. RPI 101-150) @Washington
(vs. RPI sub-150) NONE
Record vs. projected field (3-2)
Win: N-Texas, Marquette, Lafayette
Loss: N-Florida, Stanford
Record vs. at-large pool (2-0)
Win: UCLA, Oregon
Reason(s) to SEED Arizona
- 5-3 road/neutral record
- NonConf SOS No. 8
Reason(s) to DROP Arizona
- 1-2 vs. RPI Top 25
- sub-100 loss (at Washington)
Season breakdown (14-4, 6-3)
All RPI data through Monday, Feb. 2
Date Opponent Result Opp. RPI Opp. SOS 11/24 Northern Arizona 107-73 208 297 11/28 N-Florida 77-78 (L) 8 1
12/6 @Saint Louis 68-67 99 130 12/9 N-Texas 91-83 17 37 12/13 Marquette 85-75 47 80 12/17 St. Mary's 84-78 145 153 12/22 San Diego State 83-71 96 44 12/28 Liberty 107-91 190 125 12/30 Lafayette 72-69 97 218
1/3 @Arizona State 93-74 169 160 1/8 California 95-75 80 30 1/10 Stanford (L) 72-82 7 95 1/15 @Southern Cal 90-99 (L) 100 49 1/17 @UCLA 97-72 77 47 1/22 Oregon State 109-75 179 115 1/25 Oregon 90-66 64 72 1/29 @Washington 83-96 (L) 113 104 1/31 @Washington State 61-57 171 169
2/5 @California 80 30 2/7 @Stanford 7 95 2/12 Southern Cal 100 49 2/14 UCLA 77 47 2/19 @Oregon 64 72 2/21 @Oregon State 179 115 2/26 Washington 113 104 2/28 Washington State 171 169
3/7 Arizona State 3/11 Pac-10 Tournament
Joe Lunardi's forecast (Feb. 4)
Chance of NCAA top seed: 5 percent
Chance of NCAA "protected" (1-4) seed: 75 percent
Chance of NCAA bid: 95 percent
Chance of NCAA at-large bid: 75 percent
Chance of NIT bid: 5 percent
Chance of missing post-season: 0 percent
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