The Arizona Wildcats did not do too bad last season. The Wildcats finished the 2011-2012 season with an overall record of 23-12 and a Pac-12 conference record of 12-6. They made it to the Pac-12 conference tournament finals, but lost by two points to the Colorado Buffaloes.
Arizona’s record was not good enough for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but they did get into the NIT brackets. They were selected as a #1 in the NIT and played #8 Bucknell in their first tournament game. However, the Bison shocked the Wildcats as they lost 65-54.
One player that will be huge for the Wildcats this season is senior forward Solomon Hill. As a junior, Hill was named Arizona’s most outstanding player by the team’s coaches. He also ranked 16th in scoring (12.9 ppg), second in rebounding (7.7) and defensive rebounds (5.6), 13th in FG percentage (.500) and 10th in offensive rebounds (2.2) in the Pac-12 last season.
This preseason, Hill was named to the Wooden Award watch list. The John R. Wooden Award is given to college basketball’s player of the year. The preseason watch list is comprised of 50 players. Some including: Kenny Boynton (Florida), Lorenzo Brown (North Carolina State), Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Seth Curry (Duke), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan), Pierre Jackson (Baylor), and Cody Zeller (Indiana).
One freshman that will be key for Arizona this season is Brandon Ashley. In the season opener against Charleston Southern, he played twenty-four minutes off the bench while having 12 points and eight rebounds. His eight rebounds led the team.
According to arizonawildcats.com, Ashley’s profile says that he “boasts a good frame with excellent footwork” and is “an outstanding combo forward with a game reminiscent of former Wildcat standout Richard Jefferson.”
The Arizona Wildcats were selected #1 in the Pac-12 preseason poll.
According to arizonawildcats.com, the media has “correctly picked the conference winner 12 times in 20 tries. Arizona has correctly been selected in seven of the previous 11 times it has been slated to capture the league crown.”
Is it possible for the Wildcats to win the conference? Yes. The biggest problem for the Arizona Wildcats will be themselves. The only they will make the tournament is if they win the regular season or conference tournament crown. If they do not like last season, then they will miss the tournament again, but no one needs to worry about that.
That is because Arizona will win either the regular season or conference tournament crown (if not both).
Make sure to follow me on Twitter @RickyWidmer.