Derrick Williams and Jimmer Fredette were two of the biggest individual stars of last year’s NCAA Tournament. Each carried their respective Arizona and BYU teams to the second weekend of the tourney, with Williams’ leading the Wildcats to within a couple minutes of the Final Four.
This year, Williams and Fredette are trying to carve out their roles in the NBA. While both players are averaging around eight points a game for Sacramento and Minnesota, respectively, their former college teams are trying to carve out a spot of their own in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Going into the month of February, it seemed like Arizona was all but eliminated from tourney consideration. The Wildcats were just 14-8 overall and 5-4 in the Pac-12—a league significantly depleted by early player departures from a year ago, like Williams.
However, Arizona has since won six of seven, and has climbed up to third place in the conference standings and into the NCAA bubble debate.
In its first season in the West Coast Conference, BYU has lingered right behind perennial league front-runners Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. The Cougars lost at Gonzaga on Thursday night but still sit solidly in third place at 11-4 in WCC-play.
So which third-place team will eventually have the chance to dance? Here’s a look.
Arizona: 21-9, 12-5 Pac-12; RPI: 68, SOS: 98
BYU: 21-7*, 11-4 WCC; RPI: 48, SOS: 104
Notable common opponents: Oregon (BYU beat, Arizona lost to)
*Record listed is in Division I games only; RPI information from realtimerpi.com, updated Feb. 28