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Arizona women listed as ‘next four out’ in ESPN’s NCAA Tournament projections

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 30 Women’s Arizona State at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coming into Pac-12 play, it was difficult to judge the Arizona women’s basketball team. Finishing slightly under .500 in conference and getting to continue their season in the WNIT seemed to be an achievable goal. After the win over ASU this past weekend, is it reasonable to expect more?

ESPN’s Women’s Bracketologist, Charlie Creme, suggests there is hope. In Creme’s latest bracket projections, he has the Wildcats in the “Next Four Out” category after the weekend’s upset.

Arizona (11-1) definitely has work to do. They were 111 in the RPI before the win over the Sun Devils on Dec. 30. They jumped 42 spots to number 79 immediately afterwards, and sit at 84 after the completion of games on Jan. 1.

The strength of the Pac-12 and the early evidence that the Wildcats are ready to go toe-to-toe against the top half of the conference suggest that they have a real shot at making the tournament.

The program hasn’t been to the postseason since the 2010-11 season when it rode the play of Ify Ibekwe to a 21-12 record and a first-round loss in the WNIT.

Arizona has not reached the NCAA Tournament since the 2004-05 season. That year, the 20-12 Wildcats made it to the second round of the Big Dance before bowing out to LSU.

That capped a run of 10 years in which the Wildcats made nine postseason appearances, seven of them in the NCAA Tournament.