No. 2 Arizona's path to the Final Four in March Madness; West Region teams and matchups

Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard KJ Lewis (5) celebrates after making a play
Mar 14, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard KJ Lewis (5) celebrates after making a play / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Selection Sunday played out as expected for Arizona Basketball: the Wildcats were granted the No. 2 seed in the West Region by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, setting up a showdown against No. 15 seed Long Beach State in Salt Lake City.

Arizona (25-8, 15-5 in Pac-12) is coming off an early exit in the final Pac-12 Tournament in the Semifinals to eventual champion and No. 11 seed Oregon. The Beach (21-14, 10-10 in Big West) are led by outgoing head coach Dan Monson, who just led them on an improbable run to the Big West Conference Championship. The No. 4-seeded Beach took down No. 2-seeded UC Davis 74-70 on the shoulders of a 47-point second half.

No. 4-ranked North Carolina (27-7, 17-3 in ACC) earned the No. 1 seed in the bracket, and some tough teams in No. 14-ranked Baylor and No. 19-ranked Alabama occupy the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively. No. 21-ranked St. Mary's is in the 5-seed, and No. 24 Dayton is in the No. 7 seed. All in all, it's a top-heavy region stacked with AP Top-25 teams

What does Arizona's path look like?

Arizona — should they do the expected and win — will play the winner of the No. 7 Dayton and No. 10 Nevada game. The other half of this first leg features No. 3 Baylor against No. 14 Colgate and No. 6 Clemson against No. 11 New Mexico. Even if the 'Cats draw Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen, Arizona can capitalize on a lagging defense — especially in transition — to move onto the Elite Eight.

Most of the more imposing teams landed on the other side of the bracket: No. 1 North Carolina, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 St. Mary's, and even No. 12 GCU with only four losses will all have to duke it out opposite Arizona. Even low-seeded teams from strong conferences like the Big Ten and SEC landed on the other side of the bracket in No. 9 Michigan State and No. 8 Mississippi State. Whoever comes out of this grouping will be exhausted from the dogfight and could stumble in the Elite Eight matchup.


[Seed] Team



[1] North Carolina


[16] Wagner/Howard

16-15 / 18-16

[8] Miss. State


[9] Mich. State



[5] St. Mary's


[12] GCU


[4] Alabama


[13] Charleston



[6] Clemson


[11] New Mexico


[3] Baylor


[14] Colgate


Salt Lake City

[7] Dayton


[10] Nevada


[2] Arizona


[15] Long Beach State


History. MMHist. Arizona Basketball's March Madness resume following early Pac-12 Tournament exits. dark

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