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Comparing Arizona men’s basketball’s start in Pac-12 play to past Wildcat teams

It’s pretty darn good

arizona-wildcats-mens-basketball-stanford-cardinal-preview-odds-tv-channel-time-2022-pac12 Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

A fast start in conference play isn’t new for the Arizona Wildcats. But how thoroughly dominant they’ve been in getting to 5-0 is.

This marks the eighth time since the UA joined the Pac-10 in the late 1970s that it has won its first five league games, with the last occurrence coming in 2016-17 when it opened 10-0 en route to a 16-2 mark.

That squad, which won the regular season Pac-12 title and the conference tournament and reached the Sweet 16—the last Arizona team to win an NCAA tourney game—beat its first five opponents by an average of 15.8 points. The current group is doing more than 30 percent better than that.

Thursday’s 85-57 win at Stanford increased Arizona’s average margin of victory in Pac-12 games to 21.6. That’s its best while starting 5-0 since the 1987-88 beat its first five conference foes by an average of 29.8 points on its way to a 17-1 league record, 35-3 overall mark and the program’s first Final Four appearance.

A win Sunday at Cal—against whom Arizona has won nine in a row, the last six by an average of 17.8 points—would be its seventh 6-0 start. The 1987-88 team’s average margin of victory after the first six games was 27.5, and won its first nine Pac-10 games by an average of 29 points.

Arizona’s 5-0 starts in Pac-10/Pac-12 play

Year Avg. Margin 6th Game Result
Year Avg. Margin 6th Game Result
2021-22 21.6 ???
2016-17 15.8 Won by 6
2013-14 18.2 Won by 12
2002-03 12.8 Won by 25
1999-2000 6.8 Lost by 8
1997-98 18.2 Won by 30
1992-93 11.0 Won by 32
1987-88 29.8 Won by 16