Arizona's opening game of the NCAA Tournament is only days away and here are what numerous analysts throughout the country are saying about the Wildcats.
"This team is a joy to watch -- but I don't even want to think about what they must be like to score against. Nick Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Aaron Gordon are athletic wunderkinds. Adjusted for strength of opponent, Arizona gives up 86.9 points per 100 possessions. That's a great rate, No. 1 in the nation (the No. 1 per-possession defensive team in the country has won the title in nine of the past 11 seasons).
"There are no simple or easy spots on the floor to exploit against Sean Miller's D. They make you squeeze yourself to get a clean look. And then you've got to get back on defense and prepare for a team that's almost as good on the offensive glass as the defensive glass."
- Matt Norlander, CBS Sports
"Arizona clearly deserved a No. 1 seed even after losing in the Pacific-12 championship game to UCLA on Saturday. But the Wildcats should have been seeded behind Wichita State at No. 3 overall. That might have meant stacking the Wildcats' region instead of the Shockers' region. And the committee couldn't have that.
"So, Arizona goes to San Diego and then Anaheim if it can get past a recently rejuvenated Oklahoma State team in its second game. Oklahoma State can beat Arizona; Gonzaga probably can't. If Arizona advances, it could play San Diego State in the round of 16."
- John Feinstein, Washington Post
"In our situation, we knew it was going to be a top team in the country," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. "I guarantee one thing, a Wildcat is going to win. Arizona is obviously a prestigious program. They were No. 1 for most of the year, they've got an outstanding team, and that's what we want to do. We want to go play the best. Let's go take a swing at them and see what happens."
- James Edwards, Deseret News
"Arizona is a great team, they earned a No. 1 seed, but we'll be ready to play," Jordan Richardson said. "We're not going to come out scared, we don't care who we play," said Richardson. "We're playing great basketball right now. We're playing our best basketball of the season right now."
- James Edwards, Deseret News
"A key decade-old NCAA bracket adjustment known as the "pod system" allowed the selection committee to put UCLA and Arizona in the same first-weekend city. Arizona and UCLA can wave to each other in the Gaslamp Quarter without the chance of playing each other until the NCAA title game in Arlington, Texas — and wouldn't that be something?
"Arizona is No. 1 in the West and UCLA is No. 4 in the South.This clever NCAA "pod" manipulation is still confusing to many but was implemented just for times like these when both Arizona and UCLA deserved some home time-zone advantage. It turned the San Diego pod into a party that should boost attendance and also includes West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga.
- Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times
"But if Arizona reaches its first Final Four since 2001, and wins its first national title since 1997, it will be on the strength of its man-to-man defense. The Wildcats led the nation in defensive efficiency, allowing 87.3 points per 100 possessions during the regular season. That worked out to 58.7 points a game, the sixth-best mark in the country. Talk about old-school defense; it is the fewest points allowed by Arizona since 1950-51."
- John Branch, New York Times
"Yes, we know all about Arizona and how the Wildcats have one of the best defensive units in the entire country. And yes, we know about freshman sensation Aaron Gordon and how he can change the way teams play Sean Miller's club. But there's just something about Doug McDermott that is beyond explanation.
"Even on an off night shooting-wise in the Big East championship game against Providence, McDermott was still able to almost win the game by himself. He can hit from anywhere and even when he's not, he can draw the attention of defenders to open up shooting alleys for his equally-capable teammates."
- Brendan Prunty, The Star-Ledger
"Top-seeded Arizona could be tested in a lot of different ways in the West, with some grudging defensive styles as well as some high-octane offenses in the vein of the UCLA squad that brought down the Wildcats on Saturday.
"The Gonzaga-Oklahoma State survivor would make for some intrigue with Arizona. Oke State is underseeded and averages 80.3 points a game, 22 more than Arizona allows. If the Zags advance, they offer the fifth-best shooting percentage in the country (49.8) and it would call to mind the two programs' double-overtime, second-round NCAA matchup in 2003.
"Fourth-seeded San Diego State allows the second-fewest points in the nation (56.6), and if the Aztecs and Wildcats each get through to the second weekend, it would be a rematch of Arizona's 69-60 win four months ago in San Diego.
- Bud Withers, Seattle Times