KenPom: Arizona Goes Up Against NCAA Tournament History

Mar 20, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Kerr Kriisa (25) controls the ball against
Mar 20, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Kerr Kriisa (25) controls the ball against / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed in the South Region, Arizona, is up against it as a small favorite against Houston heading into the Sweet 16 Thursday night.

One of the youngest teams in the country with a first year head coach Tommy Lloyd, Arizona is set to face a veteran Houston team on Thursday and is a small betting favorite, laying 1.5 points with a total of 145 at WynnBET Sportsbook.

Arizona is the second choice to cut down the nets this season, but they actually would fall into rare air if they were able to compile four more wins and win the National Championship.

According to Ken Pomeroy, curator of college basketball analytics website KenPom, Arizona would be the first team to ever have immense NCAA Tournament success after being unranked to start the season.

"A team has never gone from unranked in the preseason to being a one seed in the tournament to advancing to the Final Four," Pomeroy wrote for "The Wildcats are the 12th team to earn a one seed after being unranked in the preseason Associated Press poll since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985 (The pandemic likely cost us an additional example as Dayton figured to be a one seed in 2020 after going unranked in the preseason)."

Zero No. 1 seed's prior to Arizona made the Final Four, with just three making the Elite 8. So, the Wildcats will fall into a small class if they are able to knock off wildly underseeded Houston on Thursday night.

Check out our full betting preview for Arizona vs. Houston HERE!

The Cougars are a vicious rebounding team, top three in the country, and will challenge the likes of Christian Koloko and the gigantic Zona frontcourt down low. U of A wants to run, they play at the fifth fastest tempo in the country, but Houston wants to turn this game into a grind and out-execute their opponent in the halfcourt.

This game is a Final Four game placed in the Sweet 16, but history is against the Wildcats.

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