As long as Arizona keeps winning, it will remain in the conversation for a second consecutive No. 1 seed, something it hasn’t accomplished in more than 30 years.
The Wildcats (21-3, 10-3 Pac-12) head to the Bay Area this weekend sitting at No. 10 in the NET ranking, which is actually down a spot from where they started the week, but Kansas’s win over Texas on Monday night caused some shuffling. On KenPom.com they sit at No. 9.
Arizona’s Quad 1 win total went down over the weekend, due to Washington State falling out of the top 75. That also means the Wildcats had a Quad 3 loss from that home defeat to the Cougars, but overall they have 11 Q1/2 victories, which is tied for fourth most.
The next two games won’t help much for the resume, though, as Cal is ranked No. 298 in NET and Stanford sits at No. 113. After that is a stretch of much better status boosters, as Utah, Colorado, ASU, USC and UCLA are all in the top 65 in NET.
As far as bracketologists are concerned, continuing to win may be all that matters for Arizona. Its 6-game win streak combined with losses from teams above it in recent weeks have narrowed the gap between the Wildcats and the top 4 teams, according to BracketMatrix.com.
Of the 97 projections collated, Arizona’s average seed is 1.63, fifth-best overall and only 0.06 behind Kansas for the fourth No. 1 seed. Purdue and Alabama are unanimous No. 1s, with Houston at 1.24.
All but one projection has Arizona as a No. 1 or No. 2, with Brad Evans of Bally Sports giving the Wildcats a No. 3 seed but providing no reason (or why he has Xavier as a No. 2 when its average seed is a 3.37).
Among the sites that have elevated the UA to the top line are ESPN, which has it as the No. 1 in the West and gives it a potential path to the Final Four that could include Gonzaga or Indiana in the Sweet 16 and then Texas or Marquette in the Elite Eight, while Bleacher Report also has the Wildcats as the West No. 1 and sets up another potential battle with Tennessee for a Final Four spot.
Fox Sports has Arizona as a No. 1 seed, but in the East Region, which would mean going to New York City for the second weekend. Same for SB Nation’s Blogging the Bracket.
Arizona has been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament seven times, with last year’s spot atop the South Region the first time it wasn’t out West. It hasn’t done that in consecutive years since 1988-89.
How has this past week impacted Arizona’s betting profile? According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Wildcats have the sixth-best odds to win the national title, at +1400, up from +1600 a week ago. They are +380 to make the Final Four, same as last week, and +175 to claim a second straight Pac-12 regular-season title but first-place UCLA is still the heavy favorite at -210.