The NCAA Tournament selection committee liked the Arizona Wildcats enough to make them the top seed in the West region.
At 30-4 with a 14-4 mark in the Pac-12, the Wildcats are not exactly undeserving of the nod, though there are some out there who feel like they are ripe for an early exit.
Will it come Friday against Weber State? If so, Arizona would become the first number one seed to lose to a number 16 seed.
And if not Friday, would they lose Sunday to the winner of the Gonzaga/Oklahoma State 8/9 game?
That would be likely, according to Predictionmachine.com creator Paul Bessire.
“It’s a major issue and it’s unfortunate news for Arizona,” Bessire told the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Bessire made sure to note that he believes the Wildcats deserved to be the top seed, but his calculations give Weber State a 14 percent chance to pull off the upset Friday, which is the second-highest percentage the system has ever given a number 16 seed.
“And as we continue on through the bracket, we’re only giving the Wildcats a 51 percent chance to make it to the Sweet 16,” he said. “Part of that is obviously a potential difficult matchup with Oklahoma State, but part of it’s that it is probably the best defensive team in the entire country, but they’ve lost a little bit of the subtle areas with the Brandon Ashley injury, they don’t shoot so well from the outside and it’s a terrible free throw shooting team as well.
“Arizona’s our most likely one seed to lose at basically every level up until the championship game.”
Bessire added that his site’s “most likely” bracket has the Wildcats in the Elite 8 because the top of the region is “relatively easy,” but the path isn’t as easy as it will be for other top seeds Florida, Wichita State and Virginia.
And it’s not entirely Arizona’s fault, he said, because it was a much different team before Ashley went down against California in February.
“Arizona’s a team that we loved when Ashley was out there and they haven’t played terribly, obviously, since,” he said. “We still say that they’re the number one team overall in the country when it comes to defensive efficiency, but there’s a lot of issues with this team that I think will become more glaring as we get into the tournament.”