There’s no doubt Arizona will be in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, but what it’s seed will be and whether it can stay out West got called into question after losing games on consecutive weekends earlier this month.
But a home sweep of the LA schools last weekend, including a big win over UCLA, has the Wildcats back in the hunt for both a No. 1 seed and the chance to play the first two weekends fairly close to home.
Entering Tuesday, Arizona’s NET ranking is 11, up one spot in the past week. The Wildcats have been as high as No. 4 and as low as No. 15, whereas last season it was always in the top 4 en route to earning the West No. 1 seed.
The UA is 6-2 in Quad 1 games, tied for the third-most Quad 1 victories, but there aren’t many more Q1 opportunities left. Thursday’s game at Washington State is barely a Quad 1 game right now, with WSU at No. 75 in the NET, and after that the next potential Q1 games are March 2-4 at USC and UCLA. Six remaining regular-season games are currently Quad 2 affairs, along with a pair of Quad 4 matchups against Oregon State and at Cal.
Speaking of WSU: assuming Arizona avenges the home loss to the Cougars on Thursday, that will knock them further down in NET and thus turn that Jan. 7 setback into a Quad 3 loss, the only notable blemish on the Wildcats’ resume.
When it comes to NCAA tourney projections, Arizona is firmly a No. 2 seed according to BracketMatrix.com. Of the 77 projected brackets it has on its site, 44 have the Wildcats as a No. 2. There are eight that have the UA at No. 1, but also 25 at No. 3 and one at No. 4. The majority of the 3s (and the lone 4) are from brackets that were updated prior to the win over UCLA, which is also a consensus No. 2 on BracketMatrix.
SB Nation’s Blogging the Bracket has Arizona as the No. 2 seed in the West, opening up in Denver against Milwaukee before playing the Clemson/New Mexico winner. A potential Sweet 16 matchup with UConn looms in Las Vegas, with a rematch against Houston on tap for the Elite Eight.
Bleacher Report also has Arizona as the West No. 2, with Iowa State as a Sweet 16 matchup before facing Houston for a trip to the Final Four, while CBS has Arizona as the West No. 2 with Gonzaga and Kansas the potential second-weekend opponents.
ESPN has the Wildcats as the No. 2 in the Midwest Region, but then again Joe Lunardi also has 11 Big Ten schools (only one of which is ranked in the Associated Press Top 25) in the field, so maybe that Twitter hack he experienced over the weekend hasn’t cleared itself up.