Just as quickly as the Baylor Bears beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the national championship game on Monday, the forecast for the 2021-22 season has sprouted.
The Arizona Wildcats are in the mix to compete in March Madness now after a self-imposed ban in 2020-21.
According to several rankings far too early, the Wildcats will be among the top 25 teams next season and in the mix for a tournament bid.
With the 17th most recruited class in the country and the return of Benedict Mathurin, Dalen Terry and Azuolas Tubelis, Sean Miller is sure to be talented next season.
Here’s a look at the rankings of several college basketball writers across the country.
ESPN (Jeff Borzello)
Benedict Mathurin, Kerr Kriisa, Dalen Terry, Azuolas Tubelis and Jordan Brown all made an impact in their first year at Tucson, and Miller also brings a strong recruiting class led by top 100 prospects Shane Nowell. Expect Arizona to reach the portal as well.
Most of the plays that helped Arizona finish in the top 30 at KenPom should come back. As long as James Akinjo retires from the NBA Draft, the Wildcats are expected to return to the NCAA Tournament (provided they are eligible for the NCAA Tournament).
Stadium (Jeff Goodman)
The Wildcats weren’t eligible for the NCAA tournament last season, but likely would have participated had they not self-imposed a ban. If they bring back their core Akinjo, Tubelis and Mathurin while adding a trio of strong freshmen, there’s no reason to think they can’t compete for the Pac-12 title.
The Wildcats were seen as a year old last season after landing 7th recruiting class in the 247Sports Composite, albeit with no real unique talent. And after playing 17-9 with a team whose two most used late lineups didn’t include a single senior, the Wildcats look ready to roll. Akinjo, Kerr Kriisa, Mathurin, Jordan Brown, Tubelis and Dalen Terry all start their second seasons on the field for the Wildcats.