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Arizona basketball climbs in final regular season AP Poll

Arizona coach Sean Miller holds up the net after Arizona won the Pac-12 regular-season title, following an NCAA college basketball game against California, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated California 66-54. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

With the Pac-12 regular season title in hand, the Arizona Wildcats close the 2017-18 regular season ranked 15th following a home sweep of Stanford and Cal.

The Wildcats moved up four spots from No. 19 in last week’s poll and enter the Pac-12 Tournament as a No. 1 seed.

There, Arizona will hope to use a strong run to solidify its NCAA Tournament seed.

At present, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Wildcats as a No. 4 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, but BracketMatrix.com’s composite lists them as the top No. 5 seed.

Arizona (24-7, 14-4 Pac-12) opens the Pac-12 Tournament Thursday at 1 p.m. and will face the winner of Wednesday’s game between eighth-seeded Colorado and ninth-seeded Arizona State.

Head coach Sean Miller’s team won the Pac-12 regular season title despite a number of distractions.

Assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson was arrested in September and later fired on corruption charges related to his recruiting practices. Starting forward Rawle Alkins missed 12 games due to a foot injury, and starting guard Allonzo Trier missed two due to a positive drug test that was overturned on appeal.

Miller sat out a game Feb. 24 at Oregon after an ESPN report said he had potentially broken NCAA rules by allegedly discussing a payment involved in the recruitment of freshman center Deandre Ayton.

The coach has denied any wrongdoing and returned for the Wildcats’ 75-67 win over Stanford Thursday and a 66-54 victory against Cal on Saturday.