Arizona Men's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Arizona Wildcats

Pac-12 (27-7, 14-4)

Arizona entered the 2017-2018 season with very high expectations. However, after three straight losses to North Carolina State, SMU and Purdue early in the campaign, those expectations quickly dissipated. But with four underclassmen in the regular rotation, it was not too surprising that this group struggled against strong competition early in the year. There were some other lumps along the way, mostly on the road, but Arizona has proven that they have the talent to beat anybody.
Big Wins: 12/5 vs Texas A&M (67-64), 2/10 USC (81-67), 2/15 at Arizona State (77-70)
Bad Losses: 11/23 vs SMU (60-66), 1/6 at Colorado (77-80), 2/3 at Washington (75-78)
Coach: Sean Miller
Why They Can Surprise:
Deandre Ayton was one of those players who needed a little time to find his role. But his role is basically to do everything. On the year he averages 20.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. The 7-1 forward shoots an impressive 61.6 percent from the floor, but not all of his shots are easy put backs either. Ayton can step out and hit some mid-range jumpers and the occasional three-pointer. Dusan Ristic is another efficient scorer and solid rebounder. With Ayton standing beside the 7-0 Ristic, few players want to attack the basket against Arizona. With the frontcourt a threat on both ends of the floor, it opens up space for Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins to do plenty of scoring. Trier adds 18.4 points per game and connected on 39.1 percent of his attempts from long range. While Trier gets open looks from the outside, Alkins does most of his scoring by attacking the basket.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Despite all of the size, Arizona’s defense is not as good as it could be. The team allows the opposition to shoot 43.2 percent from the floor, ranking fifth in the Pac-12. They do not create many turnovers either. Point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright will get a steal or two here and there and so will Alkins, but the team as a whole ranks 282nd in the country in turnovers forced. That means teams will get the opportunity to go shot for shot with this team. Most cannot keep up with the efficiency of the Wildcats offense, but a hot shooting team could end Arizona’s tournament earlier than they would hope.
Probable Starters:
Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Senior, Guard, 7.9 ppg, 4.6 apg
Allonzo Trier, Junior, Guard, 18.4 ppg, 3.3 apg
Rawle Alkins, Sophomore, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 2.4 apg, 4.8 rpg
Deandre Ayton, Freshman, Forward, 20.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Dusan Ristic, Senior, Center, 12.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg
Key Role Players:
Emmanuel Akot, Freshman, Guard, 1.9 ppg
Keanu Pinder, Senior, Forward, 2.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Dylan Smith, Sophomore, Guard, 4.5 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 81.1 (38th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.8 (160, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 51.0 (3, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.2 (134, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (242, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.4 (42, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.4 (31, 2)
Rebound Margin: 7.1 (14, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.5 (61, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (136, 6)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2017    NCAA Round of 64 win over North Dakota
2017    NCAA Round of 32 win over Saint Mary's
2017    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Xavier
2016    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Wichita State
2015    NCAA Round of 64 win over Texas Southern
2015    NCAA Round of 32  win over Ohio State
2015    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Wisconsin
2014    NCAA Round of 64 win over Weber State
2014    NCAA Round of 32 win over Gonzaga
2014    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over San Diego State
2014    NCAA Regional Final loss to Wisconsin
2013    NCAA Round of 64 win over Belmont
2013    NCAA Round of 32 win over Harvard
2013    NCAA Regional semifinal loss to Ohio State
2012    NIT     First Round loss to Bucknell
2011    NCAA Round of 64 win over Memphis
2011    NCAA Round of 32 win over Texas
2011    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Duke
2011    NCAA Regional Final loss to Connecticut
2009    NCAA Round of 64 win over Utah
2009    NCAA Round of 32 win over Cleveland State
2009    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Louisville
*all team stats through 3/4