Staff Picks: Predicting Arizona basketball's success this season

It’s tough to gauge just how good this year’s Arizona team will be. We have just the Red-Blue Game and the exhibition to give us an idea of what this team could do with seven new players. However, people should be excited about this new group of players. In the two games we have seen, newcomers Ryan Anderson, Mark Tollefsen and Kadeem Allen have been placed in the starting lineup. The Wildcats might be as good, if not better, defensively as last year. These new Wildcats are quick and athletic, allowing for the transition game to become a deadly weapon in their arsenal. If this team gels together quickly, they could make some serious noise come tournament time.

Record: 33-5

Postseason: Elite Eight

MVP: Ryan Anderson

Overrated: Allonzo Trier

Underrated: Kadeem Allen

Kyle Hansen


Arizona looks different this year: Transfers Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefsen are taking the lead, fourth-year seniors Gabe York and Kaleb Tarczewski are ready to step up their roles and there are position battles galore throughout the roster. There aren’t many great storylines going into the season, especially now that Ray Smith went down with another ACL injury. The Wildcats will have a few rough patches along the road until someone takes the leadership role that was once held by T.J. McConnell. I predict the Wildcats at least make it to the Sweet Sixteen before going down, but the Pac-12 Conference competition is much stronger this year than in previous seasons.

Record: 31-7

Postseason: Sweet Sixteen

MVP: Ryan Anderson

Overrated: Allonzo Trier

Underrated: Dusan Ristic

Matt Wall


Arizona is heading into this season after another disappointing Elite Eight finish, but the expectations aren’t as high this time. The Wildcats lost four starters from last year’s squad; however, big-man Kaleb Tarczewski is looking to become the most successful Wildcat in the win column. Sean Miller brings in a plethora of newbies in McDonald’s All-American Allonzo Trier and transfers Ryan Anderson and Mark Tollefsen. The Wildcats are looking to be a deep team this season with an overcrowded backcourt in Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Gabe York, Kadeem Allen and Justin Simon. The frontcourt will also be packed with Tarczewski, Dusan Ristic, Tollefsen, Anderson and Chance Comanche. There are concerns as to who will play the small forward position and protect the wing, but Miller will most likely have to play small ball and place Trier at the three. Arizona will begin the season just outside of the top 10 for the first time since 2012, and that has the potential to be a blessing in disguise; Arizona is being underestimated for the first time in a long time. The long shots always seem to rise to the top in March.

Record: 33-6

Postseason: Final Four

MVP: Allonzo Trier

Overrated: Gabe York

Underrated: Kadeem Allen

Justin Spears


When was the last time you didn’t see Arizona grace the experts’ Final Four picks in the preseason? Well, now you can confidently say 2015. The Wildcats may not be entering the season as underdogs, but they sure aren’t on anyone’s radar to be the team to beat come March. Sean Miller brought in the No. 6 recruiting class in 2014, which included Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Dusan Ristic. Miller followed that by bringing in the No. 4 recruiting class for this season. So besides Arizona, who are the only two schools in the top six of the last two classes? Duke and Kentucky, which are nearly unanimous Final Four picks this season. This Wildcat squad may not jump out to the record 21-0 start we witnessed in 2013, but the new Arizona is more than capable of making noise once the team becomes cohesive and learns what it’s like to play in real-game situations together. Look for Miller to lean on veterans Kaleb Tarczewski, Gabe York, Mark Tollefsen and Ryan Anderson early, but the freshmen will play a pivotal piece in this team’s success. Is flying under the radar really all the Wildcats needed during the past few seasons to help Miller over the hump and into his first-ever Final Four?

Record: 32-6

Postseason: Elite Eight

MVP: Ryan Anderson

Overrated: Mark Tollefsen

Underrated: Kadeem Allen

Dominic Baciocco



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