The Performance of Arizona Basketball as a Top Seed in the NCAA Tournament Throughout the Years

How Arizona Basketball Has Performed as NCAA Top Seed Over the Years
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Despite their loss at home against Washington State on Thursday night, it seems that the Arizona Wildcats are poised to earn the program’s eighth No. 1 seed since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Tommy Lloyd’s team boasts a 20-6 record and is currently ranked No. 4 on and No. 3 in the latest NCAA NET rankings update. This puts them in a strong position to secure the fourth and final top seed. Be sure to check out our Wildcats March Madness seed odds.

If Arizona can accomplish this, it would mark the second time under Lloyd’s leadership in Tucson since 2021 that the Wildcats have secured a top seed in the tournament. The previous instance was in 2021 when the team advanced to the Sweet 16 before falling to Houston, 72-60.

The Wildcats are listed at +1000 odds by ESPN BET Arizona oddsmakers to win their second national title in school history. They are currently behind UConn (+400), Purdue (+750), and Houston (+850). If they were to win, it would be their first national title since 1997. examined the Wildcats’ performance in their seven previous NCAA tournament appearances as the top seed to offer perspective on their history in March Madness.

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The Wildcats’ history as the top seed.


  • In the first round, Wright State was defeated by a score of 87-80.
  • In the second round, we emerged victorious over TCU in overtime, finishing with a score of 85-80.
  • Lost to Houston, 72-60 in the Sweet 16.


  • Weber State was defeated by a score of 68-59 in the first round.
  • Win against Gonzaga in the second round with a score of 84-61.
  • Sweet 16 triumph: Beat San Diego State, 70-64
  • Defeated in the Elite Eight by Wisconsin in a nail-biting overtime game, with a final score of 64-63.


  • In the opening round, Vermont was beaten by a score of 80-51.
  • Second Round: Triumphed over Gonzaga in a double overtime victory, with a final score of 96-95.
  • Sweet 16 triumphs with an 88-71 win against Notre Dame.
  • Eliminated from the Elite Eight with a 78-75 loss to Kansas.


  • In the initial round, Jackson State was beaten by a score of 71-47.
  • Lost to Wisconsin in the 2nd Round with a final score of 66-59.


  • In the opening round, Nicholls State was beaten by a score of 99-60.
  • In the second round, Illinois State was defeated with a final score of 82-49.
  • Victory in the Sweet 16: Maryland Defeated, 87-79
  • Lost to Utah in the Elite Eight with a final score of 76-51.


  • In the first round, Robert Morris was defeated by a score of 94-60.
  • In the second round, Clemson was beaten by a score of 94-68.
  • In the Sweet 16 matchup, UNLV narrowly defeated the team with a final score of 68-67.


  • In the first round, Cornell was beaten with a score of 90-50.
  • In the second round, Seton Hall was beaten by a score of 84-55.
  • Iowa defeated in Sweet 16 with a score of 99-79
  • Elite Eight: Beat UNC, 70-52
  • Lost in the Final Four to Oklahoma with a score of 86-78.

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Wildcats have a history of mixed success as top seeds

Arizona won their only championship as a fourth seed by defeating South Alabama, Charleston, Kansas, Providence, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Their best performance as a No. 1 seed was reaching the Final Four in 1988.

During that specific year, Lute Olson’s team experienced a loss to Oklahoma with a score of 86-78. This ended a standout season that paved the way for the Wildcats’ future triumphs. In the years to come, they established themselves as a force in March Madness, reaching the Final Four three more times between 1988 and 2001.

Arizona has made it to the Elite Eight as a top seed three times in 1998, 2003, and 2014, in addition to their Final Four appearance. However, they were knocked out in the Sweet 16 in 1989 and 2022, and were defeated in the second round in 2000.

As per ESPN bracket analyst Joe Lunardi, the Wildcats are set to face the winner of the play-in game between South Dakota State and Grambling State in the tournament’s opening round. A win in that match could set up a potential matchup against either Texas or Boise State in the second round in Salt Lake City.

Arizona betting apps have the Wildcats as strong favorites to win the Pac-12 regular season title, with odds of -1200.

Currently, the Wildcats are determined to return to their winning streak, beginning with a match against Washington on Saturday afternoon. Following this, they will conclude the regular season with an away game against Arizona State on Feb. 28, and face off against Oregon at home on March 2, UCLA away on March 7, and USC away on March 9.



Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher has spent over seven years working as a sports and sports betting writer in Arizona, with previous positions at, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News. He currently holds the role of lead writer at

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