SALT LAKE CITY – Four years later, you could say, the NCAA worlds are aligning again for the Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona finished the regular season 5-5, but was allowed to stay in Pac-12 country to open NCAA tournament play once UCLA guard Jordan Adams broke his foot and the selection committee downgraded the Bruins.
Arizona was then matched up with a much smaller team in its opener, and destroyed Belmont on the boards during an 81-64 victory on Thursday.
And now, a 14 seed? That’s all that remains between the Wildcats and a virtual trip “home” for the Sweet 16 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where many of their players and thousands of their fans live: Just a win over Harvard today at EnergySolutions Arena.
Of course, the Wildcats will tell you it’s all not that simple. And they have some evidence: Despite losing two of its best players to an academic scandal, Harvard (20-9) beat Cal at Berkeley, played St. Mary’s and Memphis tough on the road, and upset 10th-ranked New Mexico in their opener Thursday.
“You can’t overlook Harvard,” forward Kevin Parrom said. “Just look at New Mexico. See what they did? They’re going home. We don’t want to do that.”
Read more about the Cats and Crimson in Saturday's Arizona Daily Star.