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Bracketology: Arizona moves up in latest ESPN projection

NCAA Basketball: Arizona at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats’ road loss to Alabama Sunday certainly didn’t help their NCAA Tournament chances, but according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the Wildcats might not need to stress too much over that defeat.

Lunardi actually improved Arizona’s standing in his latest Bracketology Tuesday, moving the Wildcats from the “First Four Out” to one of the “Last Four Byes.”

Lunardi has Arizona as a No. 10 seed in the South region facing No. 7 seed Marquette.

If Arizona was to win that theoretical matchup, it would face the winner of No. 2 seed Nevada and No. 15 seed Montana. The Wildcats host Montana a week from Wednesday.

In this projection, Arizona would be the sixth to last at large team to make the Big Dance, not a great spot to be in but also not right on the cusp.

UCLA is among the “Last Four In” while Washington is in the ““First Four Out.”

It’s hard to understand Lunardi’s logic behind giving Arizona a better selection despite scraping by Utah Valley and losing at Alabama in the past week.

One thing is for sure, Arizona can’t afford to lose at home to Baylor this Saturday. The Bears are having a down year, so a loss to them in Tucson no less would add a strike against Arizona’s resume.