Los Angeles Times
ARIZONA HITS ROAD
[ 1 ALABAMA ] The Crimson Tide earned a top seed for the first time in school history. The nation’s foremost football power is in uncharted territory as the No. 1 overall seed.
[ 2 ARIZONA ] The Wildcats were a popular pick to win the national championship last season as a No. 1 seed, but maybe this will be the year they return to the Final Four for the first time since 2001. Arizona’s win over UCLA on Saturday night should give them quite a confidence boost.
[ 3 BAYLOR ] Does Scott Drew’s program have any magic left over from its run to the 2021 national championship claimed during the unprecedented COVID-plagued NCAA tournament?
[ 4 VIRGINIA ] The Cavaliers missed out on last year’s NCAA tournament and will be hungry to make some noise again just four years removed from their 2019 national title.
No. 15 seed Princeton being matched up in the first round with a Pac-12 power in No. 2 seed Arizona is bringing back memories of its historic 1996 upset of UCLA. The Tigers beat a quality Yale team in the Ivy League tournament.
Brandon Miller, forward, Alabama All eyes will be focused on Miller, the projected top-five NBA draft pick who has been a cooperating witness in the murder case of 23-year-old Jamea Harris. Despite public pressure, Alabama has remained committed to playing Miller, who has not been charged with a crime.
Azuolas Tubelis, forward, Arizona Tubelis missed out on Pac-12 player of the year, which went to UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr., but he’s still one of the best players in the country when he’s locked in.
Kihei Clark, point guard, Virginia Clark, who played high school ball at Taft in Woodland Hills, is a steady fifth-year senior leader for Virginia and helps set the tone for Tony Bennett’s squad.
No. 5 seed San Diego State can always lean on its defense. On Saturday in the Mountain West title game, the Aztecs trailed by 11 at halftime but came back by holding Utah State without a field goal for nine minutes in the second half.
UC Santa Barbara is led by Ajay Mitchell, the Big West player of the year. Mitchell is from Belgium and played professionally there before joining the Gauchos.
Arizona point guard Kerr Kriisa, who averages 5.2 assists per game, played with a balky shoulder in the Pac-12 tournament. The Wildcats need him to be healthy.