Wildcats chosen as No. 6 seed, to face No. 11 Belmont on Thursday
The field for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament has been selected, and the No. 6-seeded Arizona Wildcats will play No. 11-seeded Belmont on Thursday in Salt Lake City in the West region.
The Wildcats were projected as high as a No. 4 seed by CBSSports.com and USA Today or a No. 5 seed by ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated.
Arizona (25-7) could have locked up a higher seed had they defeated UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals or won the Pac-12 tournament championship.
“Salt Lake City, an area that we’re familiar with in the west, in the wheelhouse of our great fans, it only enhances this next game for us,” head coach Sean Miller said Sunday afternoon. “We’re excited about playing close to home in a city that is part of our conference footprint.”
The UA has played at Utah twice since the Pac-10 expanded to the Pac-12, so Miller said he believes that both travel and lodging as usual “is an advantage for us.”
At this weekend’s Pac-12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, in both games the Wildcats played; they had a significant advantage in terms of how many fans were in attendance. After both games, UA coaches and players made a note to thank the fans, who made “it [feel] like a home game,” said senior forward Solomon Hill.
“Being able to play in front of as many of our great fans as possible, that’s something that we have on our side,” Miller said.
The Belmont Bruins (26-6) enter the game as the Ohio Valley Conference champions and are “not a good team, they’re a great program,” according to Miller. The Bruins defeated Stanford, 70-62 on Nov. 18 in Palo Alto, Calif., and are a team that shoots at a 49 percent clip, led by a group of five seniors that have won 102 games, including senior guard Ian Clark, who leads the team in scoring with 18.1 points per game and makes 46.3 percent