No denying that that there was some speculation following the conference quarterfinals as to whether Arizona was going to make a run for the Pac-12 championship or not.
Not to say that they aren’t a good ball club–clearly they are. But when they got a slow start to the Cal Golden Bears earlier in the week, there was wonder if the the Wildcats could maintain their dominant ways and go deeper into March play.
Clearly, they have proven the nay-sayers wrong, and have a tourney championship to prove it. Especially after embarrassing the Oregon Ducks 80-52 in Las Vegas on Saturday.
So now with the brackets set and March Madness shenanigans ready to run rampant, we look at what Arizona can do to keep that streak of dominance rolling as they set to face Texas Southern in Round 2.
Especially when neither team has lost a game since regular season play back on February 7 — but more on that in a minute.
For starters, one of the first questions that comes to mind, is how four days of rest will affect the Wildcats. Getting some breathing room resulted in a slow start against Cal’s defense in Pac-12 play last week. TXSO ranked 168th overall in rebounds this past campaign, but as previously stated, that hasn’t kept the Tigers from losing a contest in over a month, so being aggressive in the paint from tip off is a must for the Pac-12 representative.
While these two soon-to-be foes have yet to meet up this season, they have shared an equal amount of time on a winning path. Arizona hasn’t lost a tilt since falling 81-78 to ASU on February 7–the same day that Texas Southern dropped a 58-55 decision at home to Prairie View A&M. The prospect of dropping a game in just Round 2 of the Big Dance, especially after keeping a winning streak alive since early February, should be motivation enough for Arizona to get an early leg up on the court.
The second round matchup between Arizona and Texas Southern takes place in Portland, Oregon on Thursday, March 19. Scheduled tip off has yet to be announced.
*Section Photo credit to Ethan Miller, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Robert Hanashiro, USA Today Sports