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Arizona men’s basketball in top 50 of KenPom preseason ranking

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arizona-wildcats-basketball-kenpom-rankings-preseason-tommy-lloyd-2021-pac12 Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

So far, the subjective rankings have been fairly cool on Arizona. Turns out the objective ones aren’t that high on the Wildcats, either, at least at the outset.

The UA is No. 47 in KenPom.com’s preseason rankings, 18 spots lower than it finished the 2020-21 season. Arizona has only finished that low once since 2013, ending up 94th after the 2018-19 campaign.

Arizona, coming off a 17-9 record last year under Sean Miller, was picked by the Pac-12 media earlier this week to finish in a tie for fourth in the conference. Matt Norlander of CBS Sports has the Wildcats 29th in his ranking of all 358 Division I teams, while they’re not likely to be in the preseason AP or coaches’ polls when they’re released in the next few weeks.

Gonzaga is No. 1 in KenPom, where it finished last season despite losing to Baylor in the NCAA title game. The Bulldogs don’t have their top assistant anymore, though, as Tommy Lloyd is now running Arizona.

UCLA is the highest-rated Pac-12 squad, at No. 7, which fits since the Bruins bring back most of last year’s Final Four team and were a nearly unanimous pick to win the conference. USC is 20th, followed by Oregon (29th) and Colorado (35th).

As for the UA’s nonconference opponents, its toughest matchups are all away from home. The Wildcats play at No. 5 Illinois and No. 13 Tennessee and they play No. 62 Wichita State in Las Vegas and they could also face No. 2 Michigan in Vegas.

Arizona’s toughest nonconference home matchup appears to be No. 125 North Dakota, which would count as a Quad 3 foe when it comes to McKale on Nov. 16. Wyoming (No. 183), Northern Colorado (No. 199), Cal Baptist (No. 206), Sacramento State (No. 300), UT-Rio Grande Valley (No. 304) and NAU (No. 327) are all Quad 4 matchups based on their KenPom rating.