Arizona's NCAA Tournament seeding prediction

Arizona's already locked up the top seed in the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament, but it remains to be seen where the Wildcats will land in the field of 64 when Selection Sunday rolls around. 

Their seeding hinges partially on their Pac-10 Tournament performance as a couple of wins in Staples could be the difference between facing a mid-major conference tournament champion and an at-large bid from a major conference. 

Most experts have the Wildcats slotted in the five-seed to seven-seed range, but with the constant parody in college basketball, that could easily change after this weekend's conference tournaments. 

Here's Arizona's regular season resumé:

  • Record: 25-6
  • Conference Record: 14-4
  • Non-Conference Record: 11-2
  • Home Record: 17-0
  • Road Record: 8-6
  • RPI: 17
  • Record Against the RPI Top 50: 2-4. Lost to Kansas (RPI 1), BYU (RPI 4), Washington (RPI 46) and UCLA (RPI 34) and also beat Washington and UCLA. 
  • Best Win: 87-86 home win over Washington 
  • Worst Loss: 76-75 road loss to Oregon State (RPI 234)

ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Wildcats as a No. 5 seed taking on No. 12 Clemson in Tampa Bay, Fla. Lunardi's predictions change daily, but he's consistently listed Arizona as a No. 5 seed. 

CBS Sports' Jerry Palm slotted the Wildcats as a seven-seed and has them playing Gonzaga in Chicago, Ill. Most other experts have the Wildcats somewhere from five to seven. So where do the Wildcats deserve to be come Selection Sunday?

If Arizona can win two games in the Pac-10 Tournament -- meaning the Wildcats would need to defeat either Oregon State or Stanford and follow that up with a win over USC or UCLA -- than they deserve to be a five-seed in the Big Dance. 

The Wildcats really haven't beaten any top-notch teams, and they don't have many impressive non-conference wins, but they're the best team in a well-rounded Pac-10 Conference. They played Kansas extremely tight early in the season and have taken care of business against teams they should beat.

If Arizona falls to USC or UCLA in the second round of the Pac-10 Tournament (if it makes it that deep) than the Wildcats would more likely come in as a No. 6 or No. 7 seed. It wouldn't be a shocker if Arizona did come up short against the LA schools (both of which it recently lost to), especially a USC team that needs a tournament victory to earn a bid. 

But as of now, Sean Miller's club has earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, no five seed is safe as the 5-12 upset is the most common in college basketball.

Arizona would most likely play an ACC team like Clemson or Boston College, which would be no easy feat for Derrick Williams and company. Remember that this is still a young club that struggles away from home, and any team out of the ACC is battle-tested.

More speculation and opinions will form after the conference tournaments, but for now, think of Arizona as a five-seed, and a vulnerable one at that.

The rest of the Pac

Unless USC impresses with a deep run in the Pac-10 Tournament or a team like Washington State or Cal wins it outright, expect the Pac-10 to send three teams (including Arizona) to the Big Dance. 

UCLA and Washington are both virtual locks for the NCAA Tournament and both the Bruins and Huskies figure to be dangerous as higher seeds. UCLA will probably fall somewhere from seven to nine, while UW is looking at a nine or 10 seed, all depending on this weekend in Staples Center of course. 

Even if a school like Cal or Washington State earns a bid by winning the conference tournament, both the Bruins and Huskies have a strong enough resumé to earn an at-large bid. 

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