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Arizona Wildcats a popular pick for some to go deep in NCAA Tournament

(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Following a dominant Pac-12 Tournament performance from Deandre Ayton and Arizona, some experts are high on the Wildcats after filling out their NCAA Tournament brackets.

While most college basketball writers, including Sports Illustrated’s staff, have Arizona losing in the Sweet 16 to No. 1 seed Virginia, CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson has the Wildcats going the farthest.

Patterson has Arizona beating the North Carolina Tarheels, the defending champs, in the Final Four. He then, however, has Arizona losing to Villanova in the national championship game.

This would be the farthest the Wildcats have gone since 2015 when Arizona was eliminated in the Elite Eight against the Wisconsin Badgers.

If Arizona was to get all the way to the championship game, it would end a 17 year drought. In 2001 Arizona lost to Duke 82-72 and the Wildcats haven’t returned since.

If the Wildcats got that far, they would have a chance to win their second national championship ever. The only national championship they have won was in 1997 against Kentucky.

Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo has a similar fate for Arizona as Patterson does in his bracket. Woo has Arizona advancing all the way to the Final Four, but he has the Wildcats losing to North Carolina.

A few writers such as Sports Illustrated’s Eric Single and CBS Sports writers Reid Forgrave and Kyle Boone have Arizona losing as early as the second round against Kentucky. According to brackets filled out on ESPN, 62 percent of people have picked Arizona to win in this potential Wildcats vs. Wildcats matchup.

For the average Joes filling out their brackets on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, the majority have Arizona losing in the Sweet 16 to Virginia as well.

With 4.1 percent of ESPN’s brackets picking Arizona, the Wildcats have been picked to win the national championship the seventh most times. Virginia, the No. 1 team in the country, was picked the most with 25.5 percent of fans thinking the Cavaliers will end up winning it all.


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