ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona basketball in ESPN, CBS Sports way-too-early top 25 rankings

Apr 7, 2021, 6:00 AM
Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis (10) celebrates with teammates after tipping in a basket at the buz...
Arizona forward Azuolas Tubelis (10) celebrates with teammates after tipping in a basket at the buzzer during the team's NCAA college basketball game against Arizona State, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona won 84-82. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Just as fast as the Baylor Bears defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the national championship game on Monday, predictions for the 2021-22 season sprouted up.

The Arizona Wildcats are in the mix to compete in March Madness as of right now after a self-imposed ban in 2020-21.

According to several way-too-early rankings, the Wildcats will be a top-25 team next season and in the mix for a tournament bid.

With the 17th best-recruiting class in the nation and Benedict Mathurin, Dalen Terry and Azuolas Tubelis returning, Sean Miller won’t be short of talent next season.

Here’s a look at the rankings from several college basketball writers across the country.

ESPN (Jeff Borzello)

No. 16

Benedict Mathurin, Kerr Kriisa, Dalen Terry, Azuolas Tubelis, and Jordan Brown all made impacts during their first year in Tucson, and Miller also brings in a solid recruiting class led by top-100 prospect Shane Nowell. Expect Arizona to hit the portal, too.

CBS Sports (Gary Parrish)

No. 21

Most of the pieces that helped Arizona finish in the top 30 at KenPom are expected back. As long as James Akinjo withdraws from the NBA Draft, the Wildcats should return to the NCAA Tournament (provided they’re eligible for the NCAA Tournament).

Stadium (Jeff Goodman)

No. 21

The Wildcats weren’t eligible for the NCAA tourney this past season, but likely would have gotten in if they hadn’t self-imposed a ban. If they bring back their core of Akinjo, Tubelis, and Mathurin while adding a trio of solid freshmen, there’s no reason to think they can’t compete for the Pac-12 title.

247Sports (Kevin Flaherty)

No. 11

The Wildcats were seen as a year away this past season after landing the No. 7 recruiting class in the 247Sports Composite, albeit one without a true one-and-done talent. And after going 17-9 with a team whose two most-used lineups late didn’t include a single senior, the Wildcats look ready to roll. Akinjo, Kerr Kriisa, Mathurin, Jordan Brown, Tubelis and Dalen Terry are all entering their second seasons on the court for the Wildcats.

Sports Illustrated (Kevin Sweeney)

Not ranked

NCAA.com (Andy Katz)

Not ranked

USA Today (Scott Gleeson)

Not ranked

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Arizona basketball in ESPN, CBS Sports way-too-early top 25 rankings