NCAA Tournament Predictions: 1. Arizona vs. 16. Weber State

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We Predict the Field

Nick Johnson is one of the most underrated players in the country. (Arizona Daily Star)

Nick Johnson is one of the most underrated players in the country. (Arizona Daily Star)

Arizona Wildcats (30-4, 17-4 Pac-12)-The Wildcats seemingly have everything it takes to win the national title. A roster loaded with NBA talent? Check. Freshman forward Aaron Gordon (12.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is an athletic wonder and will be one of the top picks in the draft come June. He’s been a consistent presence on both ends of the floor.

An experienced guard with scoring prowess and late-game chops? Check. Junior Nick Johnson is the team’s catalyst, and just may be the most under appreciated, underrated player in the country. He averages 16.2 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game.

A seven-footer who can walk and chew gum at the same time? Check. Kaleb Tarczewski can do more than that, as he averaged 10 points and 6 rebounds per game while shooting 75% from the free throw line. The only thing missing from Arizona’s championship puzzle is 6-8 sophomore forward Brandon Ashley, who was a tremendous presence alongside Gordon on the interior and with whom the ‘Cats were a perfect 21-0. Since he’s gone down with a season-ending injury, Arizona is just 9-4, with losses to middling Pac-12 teams Cal, Arizona State and Oregon.

Arizona leads the nation in points allowed per possession, which is a key defensive stat. They also allow opponents to shoot just 38% from the field. So great defense? Yeah, that’s a check.


1st Points Allowed per Possession  (0.87)

6th Opponent Field Goal Percentage (38.1%)

11th Rebound Percentage (56.2%)

38th Assists per Game (15.0)

46th Points per Possession (1.09)


16. Weber State Wildcats (19-11, 14-6 Big Sky)- Weber State probably doesn’t have much of a chance against Arizona, and you might argue that the ‘Cats deserved a little bit better of a seed than a 16. Three players average in double figures, led by 6-4 guard Davion Berry at 19.1 per.

The Wildcats’ profile was undoubtedly hurt by the awful league they played in, which saw only three teams finish above .500, and one of those was 17-16 North Dakota, which played in the Big Sky championship game.



20th Field Goal Percentage (.481)

108th Points per Game (73.2)



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