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NCAA Tournament: Who is Arizona’s biggest challenge in the West Region?

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Gonzaga? West Virginia? Someone else?

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga vs Arizona Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats find themselves in the West Region, and have only faced one other team in that region so far this year: the one-seed Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Gonzaga won that first meeting by a score of 69-62, but that was also a Wildcat team missing both Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Allonzo Trier.

So are the Zags the biggest threat to Arizona making its first Final Four since 2001? Or is it another team in the bracket? Let’s discuss:

Which team presents the biggest challenge for the Wildcats to get out of the West?

Christopher Boan: Obviously Gonzaga, but I'm also worried about facing VCU and FSU. VCU’s notorious press is legendary, and we've all seen them topple heavyweights over the years (sorry, not sorry Coach K). If I'm Mark Few or Sean Miller, l’m sweating bullets about playing WVU in the Sweet 16/Elite 8, because they're a very balanced, talented squad. FSU has an incredible amount of height and speed, and runs a zone-heavy D that could gum up the Cats’ scheme. There are traps galore in the west…


Alec Sills-Trausch: Gonzaga, yes because of their size and skill. Florida State, yes because of their size and athleticism. But one team that really worries me is West Virginia. U of A hasn’t seen a team like them all season and their frenetic pace and pressing style, couple with an extended 1-3-1 type zone defense probably could cause the Wildcats fits. Now a WVU match up wouldn’t happen until the Elite 8 so there’s a lot of interference that could happen but it’s one to keep your eyes on moving forward.


Matt Sheeley: Gonzaga is the obvious answer. They're one of the best teams in the country. But, in a possible Elite Eight matchup, West Virginia’s Press Virginia would be extremely difficult for Arizona. We've seen the zone and press struggles in the past with this team.


Ryan Kelapire: I think Gonzaga is the best team in college basketball, so I will echo everyone else and say the same thing, but West Virginia is second to me because of how stingy of a defensive team it is. The Mountaineers are fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency. Their relentless full-court press is no joke.