NCAA Preview: Arizona WildcatsPosted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009
Arizona (#12, Midwest, Miami pod)
vs. Utah (#5)
Mar. 20 @ 7:20pm
Vegas Line: pick
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Conference: Pac-10, at-large
Coach: Russ Pennell (interim), 19-13
08-09 Record: 19-13, 9-9
Last 12 Games: 8-4
Best Win: 84-67, Kansas, 12/23/2008
Worst Loss: 79-64, UNLV, 12/20/2008
Off. Efficiency Rating: 117.9 
Def. Efficiency Rating: 99.4 
Nuts n Bolts
Star Players: Jordan Hill – 18.5 ppg/11.0 rpg; Chase Budinger – 18.2 ppg/6.4 rpg
Unsung Hero: Nic Wise – 15.0 ppg
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): Jordan Hill: 3rd overall in 2009 / Chase Budinger: 16th overall in 2009 / Nic Wise: 52nd overall in 2010
Key Injuries: Garland Judkins: out indefinitely (suspension)
Depth: 18.3% (#339)
Achilles Heel: Interim Head Coach Russ Pennell is in his first year leading a team, and has kept the Wildcats out of a collapse that so many predicted after Lute Olsen’s departure. However, Pennell’s inexperience could prove troublesome in a high pressure tournament environment.
Will Make a Deep Run if...: The defensive pressure elevates to the Wildcat’s level of offensive output.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: They meet a team with great guards – Arizona’s halfcourt D is a feast for drive and kick point guards with wings that can shoot from outside.
Last Year Invited: 2008 – Round of 64
Best NCAA Finish: 1997, National Champions
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.22 wins per appearance
Six Degrees to Detroit: Arizona alum Bison Dele had his most productive year in the NBA while playing with the Pistons in 97-98, averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Distance to First Round Site: 2,246 miles.
School’s Claim to Fame: The 1997 National Championship team is the only one in NCAA history to defeat three number one seeds (Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky). Academically, the University of Arizona is recognized as one the strongest land-grant institutions in the nation.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Things haven’t always been cheery in the Arizona family during the past couple years: Lute Olsen’s ugly divorce made news frequently, and the first interim coach, Kevin O’Neill, was largely disliked by the fanbase.
Prediction: Arizona is the most questionable at-large team to make the tournament. Considering they were 0-10 against top 100 teams away from home, don’t expect a lot from the Wildcats when they travel to Miami. Bet on a one and done trip.
Major RTC stories: Lute Olson Retirement Wrapup
Preview written by… Matt the Intern