College basketball prognosticators generally consider Arizona basketball to be a top-20 team entering the 2023-24 season, but few predict the Wildcats to be at the very top of the sport.
That is except for KenPom.com.
Arizona is ranked No. 6 in KenPom’s rating of the 362 Division I programs, up five spots from the end of last season that saw the Wildcats flame out of the NCAA Tournament with an opening-round loss to No. 15 seed Princeton.
KenPom’s algorithm ranks Arizona No. 4 in offensive efficiency, No. 24 in defensive efficiency and No. 4 in tempo.
The Wildcats are the highest-ranked Pac-12 team, 15 spots ahead of No. 21 USC. Also in the top 50 are UCLA (26th), Colorado (28th), Oregon (41st) and Stanford (42nd). The Pac-12 begins its final season as the fifth-best conference in Division I, trailing Arizona’s future home, the Big 12, as well as the SEC, Big Ten and Big East.
Including conference games, Arizona is slated to play 23 games against teams ranked in KenPom’s top 100. Six of those will be in nonconference games versus opponents inside the top 40.
Arizona will face No. 9 Duke on Nov. 10 in Durham, N.C. Two weeks later, the Wildcats will play a Thanksgiving day game (Nov. 23) against No. 13 Michigan State in Palm Desert, Calif.
Arizona hosts No. 20 Wisconsin on Dec. 9, then plays No. 1 Purdue in Indianapolis on Dec. 16. The Wildcats play No. 10 Alabama on Dec. 20 in Phoenix, then conclude non-conference play against No. 37 FAU on Dec. 23 in Las Vegas.
Arizona’s five other nonconference opponents are ranked No. 133 or lower. The Wildcats will host No. 347 Morgan State, No. 328 Southern, No. 142 Belmont, No. 209 UT Arlington and No. 133 Colgate.
KenPom gives Arizona a 51 percent chance or better of winning all but three games: at Duke (40%), vs. Purdue (36%) and the regular-season finale at UCLA March 7 (48%). In a testament to Arizona’s tough schedule, KenPom projects the Wildcats to only go 23-8 and 15-5 in Pac-12 play.
Twenty-three regular season wins would be Arizona’s fewest since 2019-20 when it went 20-11.
Arizona is currently tied for the 9th-best odds to win the NCAA title, per DraftKings Sportsbook, at +2000. Two of Arizona’s non-conference opponents, Duke and Purdue, have the best odds at +1100 and +1200 respectively.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.