Arizona Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Arizona Wildcats
Pac-12 (30-4, 15-3)


Making the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has never been a problem for Arizona. The Wildcats have been to the tournament a whopping total of 31 times since 1951, including 16 trips to the Sweet 16 and four Final Four appearances. Each year between 1985 and 2009, Arizona sent a team to the tournament. This year has been one of the most successful in the school’s history, as the Wildcats earned their first Pac-12 Conference championship and first league crown since 2011. Although Arizona won the Pac-12 the league had a lot of parity as the Wildcats’ three regular season losses came against California, Oregon and Arizona State.

Big Wins: 11/29 vs Duke (72-66), 12/14 at Michigan (72-70), 1/9 at UCLA (79-75)
Bad Losses: 2/1 at California (58-60), 2/14 at Arizona State (66-69), 3/8 at Oregon (57-64)
Coach: Sean Miller (5 seasons at Arizona)

Why They Can Surprise:
Not that Arizona will surprise any teams, but the Wildcats’ 58.7 points per game allowed through 31 games is the best in the league by far. You have to go five points higher to run into Utah, the second team in the league. Its scoring margin is also tops in the Pac-12. The Wildcats scored 73.5 points per game for a margin of 14.8, tops among all conference teams. Arizona’s field-goal defense is also solid, as opposing teams have gotten off 38.5 percent successful shots against the Wildcats. When it comes to rebounds, no team was more successful at pulling down the boards and preventing other teams from crashing the glass. Arizona had nearly 39 rebounds a game and allowed only 30.6, strong numbers on both sides of the equation. It also has a solid turnover margin, as it forces teams to commit two more turnovers a game. With Nick Johnson leading the way at 16.2 points per game and Aaron Gordon at 12.1, Arizona also has a decent scoring punch.

Why They Can Disappoint:
So what could go wrong? Gordon is the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer while Johnson leads the way in points per game. In the loss to California both were held to a combined 12 points. They were fine in the other two games, but Gordon and Johnson didn’t get much help. If an opposing team finds a way to shut down either or both of the team’s top players, it could make for a long night. Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski average in double figures as well, but they have had off nights that could lead to pitfalls. Although Arizona’s defense is top-notch, its 73.5 offense is actually eighth in the entire Pac-12. That could be a big issue to watch come the later rounds of the tournament. Opposing teams may want to foul Arizona whenever possible. Arizona’s biggest weakness was a 65.9 percent success rate on free throws. That means Arizona clanked one shot for every two it made. That’s not a good way to earn a trip to the later tournament rounds.

Probable Starters:
T.J. McConnell, Junior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 5.5 apg
Nick Johnson, Junior, Guard, 16.2 ppg, 2.8 apg
Aaron Gordon, Freshman, Forward, 12.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Brandon Ashley, Sophomore, Forward, 11.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Kaleb Tarczewski, Sophomore, Center, 10.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Freshman, Forward, 8.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Gabe York, Sophomore, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 1.5 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.5 (95th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.7 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (60, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.5 (9, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (283, 11)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (133, 6)
Free-Throw Percentage: 65.9 (293, 11)
Rebound Margin: 8.3 (5, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.1 (42, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.6 (38, 3)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NCAA    Second Round win over Belmont
2013    NCAA    Third Round 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
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to West Virginia
2007    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Purdue
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Wisconsin
2006    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Villanova

*all team stats through 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules