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Los Angeles area has been unkind to Arizona Wildcats in NCAA Tournament
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Los Angeles area has been unkind to Arizona Wildcats in NCAA Tournament

LISTEN: Bearing Down with Adam and Jarrett - March 24, 2015

Thursday, the Arizona Wildcats will take on the Xavier Musketeers in a Sweet 16 matchup at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

If all goes according to plan, they will have another game in that very arena Saturday night with a berth in the Final Four on the line.

However many games Arizona ends up playing in Los Angeles, they will be sure to have a strong contingent of fans in the building. Call it an advantage of earning their way into the West region.

Yet, unfortunately and maybe even a bit surprisingly, playing in L.A. has not exactly led to the type of on-court success you might expect.

Tucson.com’s Bruce Pascoe did an excellent job breaking down the school’s California history as well as its roots, and below we’ll take a look at some of Arizona’s trips to the L.A. area for NCAA Tournament games under Sean Miller:

2014

Location: Honda Center, Anaheim

No.1 seed Arizona earned a hard-fought victory over San Diego State in the Sweet 16, knocking off the Aztects 70-64. Arizona trailed at halftime and for much of the game, finally taking the lead with 7:21 remaining and holding on for the win.

Then game the Elite 8 matchup with 2-seed Wisconsin and, while it was one of the best games in recent tournament history, the result was not kind for the ‘Cats. Arizona’s stout defense could not handle Frank Kaminsky, who torched the Wildcats for 28 points, and Nick Johnson couldn’t get his last-second shot attempt off in time as Arizona fell 64-63 in overtime.

2013

Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles

Sixth-seeded Arizona rolled through its first two tournament games, knocking off Belmont 81-64 and Harvard 74-51. From there was a Sweet 16 matchup with 2nd-seeded Ohio State.

Games do not get much more entertaining than this one, but again, it ended in heartbreak for the Wildcats. Mark Lyons scored 23 points — the last three of which came on an acrobatic “and-1” with a successful free throw — but Laquinton Ross’ 3-point shot in the final seconds proved to be the difference in the 73-70 final.

2011

Location: Honda Center, Anaheim

The fifth-seeded Wildcats, led by star Derrick Williams, survived the opening weekend of the tournament with close wins over Memphis and Texas. They followed it up with one of the most impressive games — or, rather, halves — you will ever see in a 93-77 stomping of No. 1 seed Duke, a game in which Williams erupted for 32 points and 13 rebounds.

After that was a date with No. 3 seed UConn with a spot in the Final Four on the line. Close most of the way, Arizona outrebounded the Huskies 39-28 and had more assists, but shot just 39.3 percent from the field and couldn’t contain UConn’s backcourt of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb.

Alas, Arizona had a chance to win at the end, but Williams and Jamelle Horne both missed, the latter of which came at the buzzer in the Wildcats’ 65-63 loss.