Arizona has reached No. 1-seed status in Joe Lunardi’s latest ESPN Bracketology.
According to Lunardi, if the season ended today, the Wildcats would be the top seed in the West playing No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast at Salt Lake City (ESPN graphic to the left). Wisconsin, the No. 8 seed, and No. 9 Iowa State are in the opposite part of that bracket.
The Wildcats have earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament five times in the program’s history: 1988, 1989, 1998, 2000 and 2003. They have advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in four of those trips, including a Final Four berth in 1988. They lost to Wisconsin in the second round as a No. 1 seed in the 2000 NCAA tournament.
Four out of the last five NCAA tournament champions were No. 1 seeds: Kansas (2008), North Carolina (2009), Duke (2010) and Kentucky (2012).
The Wildcats are also the No. 1 seed in Sports Illustrated’s less-publicized bracket. SI has the Wildcats facing No. 16 Southern in Salt Lake City. The opposite teams in its bracket is No. 8 Ohio State and No. 9 Cincinnati.
If seventh-ranked Arizona beats Cal tomorrow at McKale Center, the Wildcats will be ranked in the Top 10 for the 12 consecutive week when the AP poll is released Monday. It would be the longest such streak since 2002-03, when the Wildcats — led by Jason Gardner, Luke Walton and Ricky Anderson — were ranked in the top 10 during the entire regular season. That was a span of 18 weeks.
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner