Winning one of two games at home this past weekend wasn’t the ideal result for the Arizona Wildcats, who fell out of first place in the Pac-12 following the split with the Oregon schools.
And it did no favors to Arizona’s postseason hopes, based on updated computer rankings and the latest NCAA tournament projections.
While the current outlook isn’t as rosy as a week ago, when at 4-0 in Pac-12 play they were looking like the class of the conference, there’s plenty of time to make things better. That starts with the upcoming three-game road trip to Los Angeles and then ASU.
A strong showing at USC, UCLA and ASU—translation: winning at least two of three—could have a major impact on Arizona’s NCAA tourney hopes.
Here’s a rundown of where Arizona sits in various computer rankings, as well as in the minds of the bracket experts:
Arizona slipped in almost every notable computer ranking, most of that dip attributed to Thursday’s 59-54 loss to Oregon. Beating Oregon State 82-71 on Saturday helped make up some of that lost ground, but not all of it.
The Wildcats are 54th in the NET rankings, which this year replaces RPI as the NCAA tournament selection committee’s top metric. They were 51st entering the homestand.
KenPom.com has Arizona at 52nd, which is down three spots from a week ago. It has been no higher than 48th in that metric all season.
Though the RPI isn’t being used as an official metric anymore, WarrenNolan.com still tracks it in real time and it has Arizona at 57th. That’s down 13 spots from prior to the Oregon loss.
ESPN’s BPI also has Arizona at 57th, down two places from a week ago.
Arizona is either the second- or third-highest ranked Pac-12 team in each of those metrics.
Of the 76 projections tracked by BracketMatrix.com, as of Monday afternoon, Arizona is listed as being in the NCAA tournament field on 65 with an average seed of 10.69. That’s down ever so slightly from last week when the Wildcats’ average seed was 10.65, and like a week ago translates to a No. 11 seed.
That’s a familiar place for Pac-12 teams, as Arizona State (10.8) and Washington (10.45) are also averaging out as an 11.
But looking at some of the more prominent projections, the outlook isn’t nearly as good.
CBS Sports, Fox Sports, and Bleacher Report all list Arizona as one of the “first four teams out” of the 68-team field, which is a fancy way of saying they’re currently on the outside looking in. Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller cites Arizona’s lack of quality wins, beyond the Iowa State victory at the Maui Invitational, and believes the Wildcats need to win 10 of their remaining 12 regular-season games to ensure a bid.
Sports Illustrated’s Michael Beller is only slightly more hopeful, including the Wildcats in his “last four in.” He has them facing UCF in a First Four game, then squaring off with Wisconsin in the main field if they were to advance.
By far the most bullish projection for Arizona is by TeamRankings.com, which has it as a No. 9 seed. That site gives the Wildcats a 67 percent chance of making the NCAA field.