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Bracketology: Arizona can improve NCAA Tournament seed with win vs. UCLA

The Wildcats can elevate their seed with a win Friday and Saturday

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats will look to advance to the Pac-12 Tournament championship game Friday when they meet up with the UCLA Bruins.

With a win, Arizona would not only go to their sixth Pac-12 title game in eight years but they would also improve their seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

In today’s projection, we still have the Wildcats on the 5-line but they have moved. With Gonzaga’s WCC Championship win, they remain on the 4-line but have passed a couple of teams in overall seeding while Arizona remains the top team on the 5-line.

With that, Arizona now lines up with the worst 4-seed in the field — currently the West Virginia Mountaineers, which would send the Wildcats to Boise for their first and second round games and would need to travel to Boston to potentially reach the Final Four.

In addition to Arizona’s major meeting with UCLA tonight, pay attention to tonight’s Big 12 Tournament semifinal game between West Virginia and the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Those are the two teams immediately ahead of Arizona and if the Wildcats complete their goal of winning another Pac-12 Tournament Championship, they’re likely to take over the 4-seed from the loser of that Big 12 matchup.

Let’s look at the rest of today’s bracket projection.

Last Four Byes: Missouri, NC State, USC, Alabama

Last Four In: Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona State, Louisville

First Four Out: Middle Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Marquette

Next Four Out: Notre Dame, Syracuse, Penn State, Utah


Things are becoming a bit clearer for the rest of the Pac-12. With both UCLA and the USC Trojans winning yesterday and advancing to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals, they are both looking very close to in. Obviously, they can do wonders for their standing with wins tonight and one of them winning the automatic bid.

The Arizona State Sun Devils, however, will be sweating their way to Selection Sunday. We currently have them as the second to last team in the field. They have one of the most complex resumes on the bubble with wins over a pair of potential 1-seeds, the Xavier Musketeers and Kansas Jayhawks. That Kansas win could be the most impressive out of conference victory that anyone in the country has, with ASU going into Allen Fieldhouse and getting a win.

ASU followed that up with an 8-10 conference record and an early exit in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Right now they’re in and slightly ahead of the Louisville Cardinals. That can change depending on who wins the ACC Tournament and how it can boost Louisville’s numbers. More than anything though, the Sun Devils need the remaining conference tournaments to go according to plan as they really can’t afford any bubble spots to disappear.

One interesting potential bubble buster is the Oregon Ducks. If Oregon defeats USC in tonight’s other Pac-12 semifinal and then grabs another win tomorrow against either Arizona/UCLA, they would get the automatic bid and in the process, shrink the bubble and perhaps cost ASU a spot.

Things are touch and go for many of these bubble teams. Stay tuned as we’ll have another update tomorrow.