Welcome back to the Arizona Wildcats Sweet 17 tournament, where we take the 17 best basketball teams in school history and put them into a bracket (to fill the offseason, essentially).
Last week, the 1998 squad featuring the final years of Mike Bibby, Michael Dickerson, and Miles Simon, eliminated the 2002 squad that had one of the best individual seasons in school history (Jason Gardner’s junior year). The 1998 squad advanced, but not without a fight. Let’s take a look at the updated bracket.
This week, we’re rounding out the bottom half of the bracket. The #3-seeded 2001 team, national runner-up, will take on the 2011 team, Derrick Williams’ team, that ended up a few inches from a Final Four berth. Let’s look at the teams.
#3 2001 vs. #14 2011
2001 Profile: 28-8 (15-3, 2nd in Pac-10); NCAA Tournament #2 seed, lost to #1 Duke in Championship 82-72
Starters: Jason Gardner (SO), Gilbert Arenas (SO), Michael Wright (JR), Richard Jefferson (JR), Loren Woods (SR)
Key Bench: Luke Walton (SO), Eugene Edgerson (SR), Justin Wessel (SR); Lamont Frazier (SO)
2011 Profile: 30-8 (14-4, 1st in Pac-10, lost Pac-10 tournament final); NCAA Tournament #5 seed, lost to UCONN in Elite 8 65-63
Starters: Derrick Williams (SO), Momo Jones (SO), Kyle Fogg (JR), Solomon Hill (SO), Jesse Perry (JR)
Key Bench: Kevin Parrom (SO), Jamelle Horne (SR), Jordin Mayes (FR), Brendon Lavender (JR), Kyryl Natyazhko (SO)
We all remember the 2001 finale for one of two reasons. First would be the absolute screw job from the referees in the national championship game against Duke. Everyone remembers how Jason Williams was mugging Jason Gardner at every opportunity (and then there was the infamous body surfing incident). The other is just how injured Gilbert Arenas was, which directly led to his poor shooting. The 2001 season was known for a lot of other reasons too, but we’ll get into that on Monday.
As for the 2011 team, that was the Derrick Williams special. One of the most dominating seasons as far as a toughness and leadership standpoint came from Williams in 2011. He essentially pulled the team all the way through the season and the tournament into the Elite 8 (remember those huge end-of-game plays against Memphis and Texas?).
Vote now, let us know what you think, and come back for the results on Monday!
Who would win in a game between the 2001 and 2011 teams?
- #14 2011 (11%, 2 Votes)
- #3 2001 (89%, 16 Votes)
Total Voters: 18