5 Reasons Why Arizona Will Win the 2014 NCAA Tournament
The Arizona Wildcats enter the NCAA tournament as Pac-12 regular season champions and the No. 1 seed in the West Regional. They were ranked No. 1 in the country at various points of the season, and have the Pac-12 Player of the Year in Nick Johnson. The Wildcats are poised to make a deep run and are one of the top contenders to win it all.
The Wildcats give up 58 points per game, which is fifth in the entire country. Defense wins championships and is vital in a tournament where offenses can easily go cold. The Wildcats have great perimeter defenders as well as rim protectors to create a stifling defense. They have two of the best defenders in the country in Johnson and Aaron Gordon, who seem to fly across the floor on every possession.
The Wildcats are also one of the top rebounding teams in the country, even without Brandon Ashley. Three of their active players average over 5.8 rebounds per game, and they have great height and athleticism to get at it on the boards.
Sean Miller has proved to be an excellent recruiter, but is also a great coach. He has had great success at Xavier and Arizona, including three different 30-win seasons. His teams play tough defense and he allows players to play to their strengths. He will want to prove himself as being among the elite in this tournament.
2. Variety of Weapons
2. Variety of Weapons
Arizona has a ton of options on offense, as evidenced by the six players averaging over 8.5 points a game. Add in sharpshooter Gabe York, and the Wildcats can beat you from any position. T.J. McConnell and Johnson love getting into the lane and creating opportunities. Kaleb Tarczewski and Gordon are both great finishers and provide big bodies down low.
While Gordon gets a ton of publicity, Johnson is the team’s most valuable player. He is the heartbeat of this team, a leader who chooses to lead by example. He is their best scorer, but also capable of guarding any perimeter player in the country. He truly does it all, from momentum-changing dunks to sprinting back on defense, and is one of the best all-around players in the country.