With a couple of the NCAA Tournament’s favorites heading back home after the first weekend, the Arizona Wildcats are definitely being held in higher regard as they enter the Sweet Sixteen facing the only double-digit seed remaining in the field.
Arizona’s opponent, the Xavier Musketeers, have the longest odds at 75/1, which is understandable since they are an 11-seed when everyone else is an 8-seed or better.
Here’s what he wrote about the Wildcats:
The Wildcats have won 11 of their last 12 games, including their NCAA tournament games against North Dakota and Saint Mary’s. Sean Miller has a well-balanced group and arguably the best shooting team he’s had at Arizona, with four players shooting better than 40 percent from three. The Wildcats also rank No. 4 in three-point percentage of the teams remaining. Lauri Markkanen has been tough for opposing teams to defend, and that hasn’t stopped in the tournament, as he’s scored a combined 36 points in the two wins.
If the event were being re-seeded, I’d bump the Wildcats up to a No. 1 seed. A scrappy Saint Mary’s team tested them, but they held on during the same round that Villanova, Louisville and Duke did not. They don’t necessarily have an easy road, but my prediction is that Sean Miller makes his first Final Four. First things first, though, Arizona’s Sweet 16 matchup is an intriguing one that puts Sean Miller against his former school, an overachieving Xavier team.
Yes, that’s him predicting Arizona makes the Final Four at this point. It doesn’t seem like he thinks Gonzaga will get past West Virginia on Thursday either, even though he has the Zags ranked 5th and the Mountaineers 8th. Daniels put the UCLA Bruins fourth.
Arizona does seem to be in a favorable position for at least the Sweet Sixteen round. The Wildcats will need to take advantage of that in San Jose rather than let this one slip by.