Arizona Wildcats earn the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament
The Arizona Wildcats are in the NCAA Tournament for the 35th time. Selected as the fourth seed in the South Region, the Wildcats will face the Buffalo Bulls on Thursday in Boise, Idaho.
The Pac-12 Tournament Champion Wildcats used a strong second half to knock off the USC Trojans with a 75-61 victory in the championship game.
Virginia earned the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament by winning the ACC regular season and postseason tournament. The Wildcats were placed with Virginia in the South Region bracket along with second-seeded Cincinnati and third-seeded Tennessee.
Arizona could match up with Kentucky in their second game if both teams can avoid an upset in their first match ups.
The Wildcats’ season was under a national microscope when a Feb. 23 ESPN report from Mark Schlabach alleged head coach Sean Miller was heard on an FBI wiretap about an impermissible benefit involving freshman Deandre Ayton.
Miller would deny any wrongdoing and received the support of Arizona president Robert Robbins, who said after meeting with the Arizona Board of Regents that Miller would remain as the team’s head coach.
“We have no reason to believe that Coach Miller violated NCAA rules or any laws regarding the allegation reported in the media,” Robbins said.
Prior to the scandal, Arizona’s season already had some uncertainty about it. They lost three straight games in the Bahamas to NC State, SMU and Purdue, making them 3-3 on the season as they finished off their nonconference schedule.
From that point, they would win nine games in a row, including an 84-78 win to open Pac-12 play over then-No.3 Arizona State, who was at the time the last remaining unbeaten in college basketball.
The Wildcats would only lose two games in a row once in Pac-12 play, a road loss to Washington on a buzzer-beater and a home defeat at the hands of UCLA.
Going 14-4 in the Pac-12, Arizona was the regular season conference champions.