Adia Barnes was right. The loss to last-place Cal did negate the big win over Stanford.
The Arizona Wildcats remain steady at No. 13 in the latest AP poll but may have missed their chance to jump into the Top 10.
Arizona upset No. 4 Stanford on Friday, its first-ever win over a top-5 team, before turning in an “atrocious performance” in Sunday’s 55-54 loss to Cal, a team that only captured three conference wins all season.
“I’m just so disappointed because we always have these opportunities to make big jumps and we can’t,” Barnes said. “We don’t show that same emotion. We played today like we didn’t want it and you just can’t be that inconsistent.”
Not only would the Wildcats have risen in the rankings if they had taken care of business against Cal, they would have strengthened their case to be a top-16 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, which would give them the opportunity to host the first two rounds.
The Wildcats are still very much within striking distance—they will find out Monday night where the selection committee has them—but now they might need to win a game in the Pac-12 Tournament to lock it down.
Arizona, the No. 4 seed, will either play No. 5 seed ASU or No. 12 seed Cal in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals on Friday in Las Vegas. The Sun Devils check in at No. 24 in the AP poll.
Right now, ESPN’s Charlie Creme projects Arizona as a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Being a 4 as opposed to a 3 is also a big deal since the former means the Wildcats would face a No. 1 seed in the Sweet Sixteen.
“The reality is, and I told [our players], this hurts things,” Barnes said after the loss to Cal. “And it’s not devastating because we have more basketball, but we had control of our own destiny. And we could have been in a very, very good situation and this made us take a step back.”