Can Arizona be a Championship Contender?


The 7th ranked Arizona Wildcats will need to keep a clean slate in conference play and the Pac 12 tournament to secure a top seed in the NCAA tournament in mid March.

With a top seed, the Wildcats should easily glide through the opening two rounds and the sweet sixteen. Once they hit the elite eight, it should get interesting. If they reach the Final Four, the remaining three typically should be No. 1 ranked Kentucky, No. 2, Duke, and No. 4 Wisconsin.

After blowing out 12th ranked Kansas 72-40 and beating No. 10 Texas and No. 5 Louisville the Kentucky Wildcats showed why they are ranked at the top. Trying to score inside is virtually impossible with 6-11 freshman Karl-Anthony Towns, and 7-0’s Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson in the paint.

The defense is only averaging 50.4 points allowed per game this season, leading the NCAA. To at least contain UK, Arizona must have Stanley Johnson and Brandon Ashley put up big points.

Dec 19, 2014; El Paso, TX, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Stanley Johnson (5) dribbles the ball against the UTEP Miners at Don Haskins Center. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 2 ranked Duke Blue Devils have the scariest offense in all of college basketball led by freshman Jahlil Okafor. They have two wins against ranked opponents in Michigan State and Wisconsin. Duke is deadly from inside so Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kaleb Tarzczewski must contain inside the paint.

The Wisconsin Badgers are a very good three point shooting team led by Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky, a 7-0 PF/C is the deadliest three point threat by a big man in all of college basketball. Arizona is a solid offensive team so they should get the job done against the Badgers if they play each other.

For Arizona to win the NCAA tournament, they’ll need to go through Kentucky and Duke. The Wildcats won’t be a Cinderella for the 2015 NCAA tournament, but they’re going to need to be one to beat Kentucky or Duke.

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