Arizona Basketball's history in the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen

Arizona V Kansas
Arizona V Kansas / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages
4 of 5

Latest win: 2015 vs. Xavier

The last time Arizona won a Sweet Sixteen game was nearly 10 years ago, and it was another full-circle moment for the man at the helm: Sean Miller. He captained the 'Cats to a 28-3 (16-2 in Pac-12) regular-season record and the No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament. Arizona rolled through Cal, escaped UCLA by 6 points, and laid the wood against Oregon in a championship game that ended 80-52.

Mar 26, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Brandon Ashley (21) reacts during the
Mar 26, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Brandon Ashley (21) reacts during the / Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the postseason, Miller's Wildcats were given the No. 2 seed in the West Region, setting up a showdown against No. 15 Texas Southern in the opening round. Arizona won by over 20 points in the 93-72 decision and moved onto the Round of 32. The Wildcats found No. 10 Ohio State waiting for them and proceeded to win even bigger in the 73-58 thumping to find the Sweet Sixteen for the third straight season and fourth time in five years.

The draw was No. 6 Xavier: the school that gave Miller his first Division I head coaching job and that he just led to a Sweet Sixteen appearance just six seasons ago. As fate would have it, he ended up back with the Musketeers after his time in the desert came to a close. On this day in 2015, though, Miller's Wildcats pulled through with a 68-60 win to power Arizona to its second straight Elite Eight appearance.

Latest loss: 2022 vs. Houston

This is the game that Arizona is remembering as they come into 2024's matchup, and the taste of blood still lingers. Tommy Lloyd was in his first year as a Division I head coach and he powered Arizona to a 28-3 (18-2 in Pac-12) regular season record. The No. 1-seeded Wildcats entered the Pac-12 Tournament on a three-game win streak; dispatching No. 9 seed Stanford, No. 4 seed Colorado, and No. 2 seed and No. 13-ranked UCLA en route to a Pac-12 Tournament championship.

Pelle Larsson
Houston v Arizona / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Heading into the big dance led by future NBA players Bennedict Mathurin, Christian Koloko, and Dalen Terry, Arizona earned the No. 1 seed in the South Region (No. 2 overall) where they were set to play No. 16 Wright State. No Cinderella stories were written for the Raiders, as Arizona won 87-70. In the Round of 32, No. 9 TCU pushed the 'Cats into overtime, but they still secured the 85-80 win to reach the Sweet Sixteen in Lloyd's first year at the helm

In hindsight, drawing an ascendant Houston team led by rising superstar Jamal Shead as a No. 5 seed was a recipe for disaster. The Cougars had made the Final Four the year prior and were looking to prove themselves as a powerhouse for years to come. Houston struck first and didn't look back, and Arizona — who were completely caught on their heels — didn't lead in the game once. It ended as a crushing 72-60 loss that ended Lloyd's first season on a sour note.