It has been 14 seasons since the last time the Arizona Wildcats have reached the NCAA Championship Game, but this year’s team may be the best squad since then and they have high hopes of reaching the Final Four and beyond.
Arizona has maneuvered their way through the NCAA Tournament to the championship game twice in their program’s history.
In 1997 the No. 4 seeded Arizona Wildcats defeated the No. 1 seeded Kentucky Wildcats in the finals for their lone NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
More from Heat Waved
- Arizona Coyotes: Slumping Strome Shipped to Chicago
- Arizona Cardinals Paid Sam Bradford $6.75 Million Per TD Pass
- Former Arizona Basketball Star Allonzo Trier Remarkably Efficient Lately
- Arizona Coyotes: How Coach Rick Tocchet Sparked His Offense
- Arizona State Basketball Has Two Transfers Ready to Compete
The 1997 team, with Mike Bibby and Jason Terry on the roster, won all six games during the tournament by single-digits. Two of the six victories came in overtime, including the championship game against Kentucky.
Four years later, Arizona was lead by Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson, and Luke Walton back to the championship game. This time Arizona was a No. 2 seed in the tournament and they took care of business in the early rounds as they rattled off a trio of double-digit victories in which they outscored their opponents 240-to-184.
The Wildcats defeated top-seeded Illinois by six points before knocking off another No. 1 seed in Michigan State in the Final Four by a whopping 19 points.
Then came a No. 1 seeded Duke team led by five future NBA players (Shane Battier, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon, Carlos Boozer, and Jay Williams). Duke took care of business against the Wildcats with a dominant second-half to defeat Arizona 82-72.
All-in-all the Wildcats have reached the Final Four a grand total of four times. They have made it to the Elite Eight 10 times, including last year’s team.
This year’s Arizona team is entering the tournament hot. They have won 11 consecutive games, including nine double-digit victories in that stretch. They won both the regular season PAC-12 Conference Championship and the PAC-12 Tournament Championship, but these accomplishments are hopefully just the beginning for the 2015 Wildcats.