The 2019-20 season ended without Arizona Basketball getting a chance to show what they could have done in the Pac-12 Tournament and NCAA Tournament. We take a look at what if both tournaments weren’t canceled.
After the season came to a screeching halt, Arizona Basketball ended with a lot of unknowns and what-ifs. They had just won the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament against the Washington Huskies and just like that, the season ended and we’ll all be left wondering what could have been for this team. Could they have won the Pac-12 Tournament? Could this team have made a deep run during March Madness. These are all questions we’ll never know the answer to, but it’s fun to speculate what could have happened.
Heading into the 2019-20 season, expectations were high for a team stacked with talent, depth, and experience. Unfortunately, the Wildcats’ overall record of 21-11 was a result of being unable to win the close games. This team easily could have had close to 26 wins and been a contender for the regular-season Pac-12 title.
Pac-12 Tournament what if
By the start of the Pac-12 Tournament, the Wildcats were looking to exact revenge upon the Huskies who beat them on senior night. That they did, beating the Huskies 77-70. Next up, they were set to play the USC Trojans in the Quarterfinals, but it never happened due to the Pac-12 tournament being canceled and followed by March Madness being canceled as well.
Arizona Wildcats Basketball
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What if though the tournament hadn’t been canceled? After defeating the Huskies, the Wildcats were looking like a team on a mission to get back to the Pac-12 championship game. They were shooting well, defending well, taking excellent care of the basketball and more importantly they came out focused right from the start.
If the tournament had continued, they would have faced the Trojans, whom they split the regular season with. The Wildcats matched up will against them and a game the Wildcats could easily win as long as they remained focused for 40 minutes.
If they got past the Trojans, they would likely have faced the Ducks in the semifinals. It would have been a tough matchup, but something tells me the Wildcats would finally find a way to get over the hump and defeat the Ducks.
In the Finals, whether they faced UCLA or ASU, this team would continue to play together as a team and use all the momentum, confidence and support of the Wildcat fan base in Las Vegas to propel them as Pac-12 Tournament Champs!
Agree or disagree, let us know your thoughts on the Pac-12 Tournament what if.
NCAA Tournament what if
The Wildcats were projected to be a 7-9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Depending on how things would have played out in the Pac-12 Tournament, they could have received even a slightly higher seed. The latest NCAA Bracketology, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, had the Wildcats a No. 7 seed in the West, facing No.10 seed Texas Tech.
Of course, in the West, Gonzaga was likely going to be the No.1 seed, setting up a possible rematch for the Wildcats if they had reached the Elite 8. We’ll never truly know the seeds for any of the teams as the NCAA recently announced they have no plans to release the bracket because they aren’t completed. That won’t stop us though from predicting a what-if scenario for the Wildcats!
For now, we’ll base our what-if on Lunardi’s bracket. Being in the lower section of the West bracket, there would have been no easy wins for the Wildcats. If they were able to get past the Red Raiders, they would have faced either San Diego St or UC Irvine in the Round of 32. Then likely face BYU, Indiana or Seton Hall in the Sweet 16, followed by facing the Zags for a chance to get into the Final Four.
Not to say it would have been impossible, but if the Wildcats had a chance to actually play in the NCAA Tournament, the margin for error would be small. If this team played to it’s full potential, they could have easily made a run to the Elite 8 and who knows, maybe find a way to defeat one of the best teams in the country, Gonzaga, who they lost to at home earlier in the year.
If the Wildcats had made it to the Final Four, it wouldn’t get any easier. But with all the experience with having to play close games combined with the confidence of winning 4 straight games in the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats could have had a chance to possibly cut down the nets in Atlanta. It’s called March Madness for a reason, just saying!
Enjoy the highlights of what was the last game of the season for the Wildcats! This team looked so good and was getting their swag back. Just imagine if they could have kept on playing.
At Zona Zealots, let us know your thoughts and if you disagree or agree with us. We all wish this was a bad dream and that Arizona Basketball would be competing in the post-season. As hard as it might be right now, let us do our best and Bear Down!