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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Sweet Sixteen A to Z

Rebecca Noble

Arizona men’s basketball forward Brandon Ashley (21) and guard Gabe York (right) defend Gonzaga forward Domantas Sabonis (11) during Arizona’s 66-63 overtime victory over Gonzaga on Dec. 6 in McKale Center. The Wildcats’ defeat of Gonzaga was one of the highlights of the season.

A — Arizona. The Wildcats have made the Sweet Sixteen three times in a row and four times in coach Sean Miller’s six seasons in Tucson. Arizona has made 17 Sweet Sixteens, so it’s time to update the intro video.

B — Bruins. Remember when everyone complained that UCLA shouldn’t be in the Big Dance? Well, it had the last laugh when it made the Sweet Sixteen. Too bad those uniforms are so ugly.

C — Coach K. No one can spell the Duke coach’s or the Utah coach’s last names without copying and pasting, and now they’re facing off in the Sweet Sixteen. Get ready to hit Command/Control-C plenty for Krzyzewski and Krystkowiak.

D — Dean. The North Carolina Tar Heels will be wearing “DES” patches to honor the late great Dean Smith, their former coach who recently died. Fun fact: Smith’s last game as coach was against Arizona in the 1997 Final Four.

E — Elite. Arizona and Michigan State are the only schools with a Sweet Sixteen men’s basketball appearance and to play in a New Year’s Six football bowl game this season. MSU played in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl, UA in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl.

F — Frank the tank. Arizona fans are still having nightmares about the man who ended the Wildcats’ season last March. Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky scored 28 points and had 11 rebounds in the 2014 Elite Eight.

G — Georgia State. The Panthers were the story of the tournament early on. Georgia State featured the Hunter father/son combo and former Louisville Cardinal Kevin Ware.

H — Huggy Bear. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said Kentucky coach John Calipari called him weeks ago and told him that the NCAA would match up the Mountaineers and Wildcats, and now, they are playing. Huggins also criticized the NCAA’s game times.

I — Izzo. Michigan State beat Virginia in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year to get the Spartans into the Sweet Sixteen for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. MSU head coach Tom Izzo is 13-1 in the Round of 32.

J — Jinx. Sports Illustrated featured three teams in addition to Kentucky on its regional NCAA preview issue, “Who can catch the Cats?”: Virginia, Northern Iowa and Arizona. Two of those teams are out, and a week later, SI featured Wisconsin on its cover.

K — Kansas. The Kansas Jayhawks refused to play in-state rival Wichita State since 1993, and now we know why. The Shockers bounced KU from the tournament in the Round of 32.

L — Louisville. Louisville made its fourth straight Sweet Sixteen. Without a one or a two-seed alive in the East Region, it could be a favorite to reach the Final Four now.

M — Miller time out. Oklahoma beat Dayton 72-66 on Sunday to oust Archie Miller and the Flyers from the NCAA Tournament. Still, the Miller brothers are 4-1 in the NCAA Tournament this year so far.

N — North Carolina. For the fourth time — and the first since 2005 — North Carolina, Duke and NC State all made the Sweet Sixteen. Last year, none of the Triangle teams made the 16.

O — Overrated. After a season of getting praise and ranked teams, the Big 12 has struggled in the Big Dance. It had seven teams make it in, but its record is 5-5, and only two survived the first weekend.

P — Pac-12. The Conference of Champions boasts three teams in the Sweet Sixteen and a 7-1 record. It’s the fifth time the conference has been 6-1 or better since 1985, and the other four times, a Pac-12 team made it to the Final Four.

Q — Questionable. After many questioned whether UCLA deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins experienced more controversy in their first game. SMU center Yanick Moreira was called for goaltending late, which led to a UCLA win.

R — Riot. The toughest Elite Eight matchup could be the top-seeded Tucson Police Department and the second-seeded Arizona fans.

S — Sad. After Notre Dame beat Butler 67-64 in overtime to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, ND head coach Mike Brey revealed that his mother, Betty, had died the morning of the game. She was 84.

T — Tall. The tallest player in the tournament, 7-foot-6 UC Irvine center Mamadou Ndiaye, had one of the shortest stays, as the Anteaters lost 57-55 to Louisville in their first game. Arizona beat UC Irvine 71-54 earlier this season.

U — Undefeated. Kentucky is trying to become the first team to win the national championship without losing since Indiana in 1976. Six other teams have gone undefeated: UCLA (four times), North Carolina and San Francisco.

V — Victory. V may stand for victory, but not for the tournament’s highest-seeded “V” teams, Villanova and Virginia. The top two seeds in the East Region didn’t survive the first weekend.

W — Wildcats. Many in the national media predicted an Arizona and Kentucky matchup in the Final Four, and some say the UA has the best chance to knock off UK. The navy and royal blue Wildcats met in the 1997 national championship game in Indianapolis.

X — Xavier. If you’re reading this, then obviously you know Sean Miller used to coach the X-Men. But did you know the Musketeers have made it to three Sweet Sixteens since he left for the UA?

Y — You again? The Sweet Sixteen features two regular season rematches: Louisville and NC State, and Gonzaga and UCLA. NC State and Gonzaga won the regular season games, on the road.

Z — Zags. Gonzaga reached its sixth Sweet Sixteen in school history and its first since 2009. It’s only made it to the Elite Eight once, in 1999, and never further.


Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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