Arizona Wildcats' Blueprint to Win 2014 NCAA Tournament

« Prev
1 of 7
Next »
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse the slideshow
Arizona Wildcats' Blueprint to Win 2014 NCAA Tournament
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell is one of the reasons to believe the Wildcats are still capable of a title run.

The Arizona Wildcats claimed the West's No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA tournament—a foregone conclusion for the bulk of the season.

But Sean Miller's blueprint for facing the field from that high-profile slot was fundamentally altered over the last month.

Since losing power forward Brandon Ashley—one of the team's premier rebounders, interior defenders and mid-range shooters—to a broken foot in early February, Arizona went from polishing a Final Four lock to figuring out how to play minus absolute low-post dominance.

All four of the Wildcats' losses have come since losing Ashley—road losses at Cal, Arizona State and Oregon, and a neutral-site defeat to UCLA in the Pac-12 tourney. It was 21-0 before the injury, 9-4 since. 

But the Wildcats have also compiled four of their most dominating performances of 2014 since that rough night in Berkeley:

  • An 88-61 win at tourney-bound Colorado, one of the most difficult road environments in college hoops.
  • A 87-59 rout of the Cal team that broke the Wildcats' undefeated run on the day Ashley went down for the year.
  • A 71-39 pounding of fringe NCAA bubble-team Utah, followed by a second 20-plus point beatdown of Colorado, in the Pac-12 tourney.

There is still plenty to like about this Arizona team, even in the absence of one of its stars.

Here is the layout for Arizona making a serious run at the national title.

Begin Slideshow »

Follow Arizona Wildcats Basketball from B/R on Facebook

Follow Arizona Wildcats Basketball from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Arizona Wildcats Basketball

Subscribe Now

By signing up for our newsletter, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Thanks for signing up.