Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats hoops: Potential ranking history to be made

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Sean Miller's team is vying this year for something that has never been done before in the rankings in program history

Sean Miller’s team is vying this year for something that has never been done before in the rankings in program history

Never has an Arizona basketball team lasted two consecutive seasons in the top 10 from start to finish of the AP or USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Wildcats, who remained in the top 10 in both polls all of last season, were ranked No. 2 in Thursday’s preseason USA Today Coaches Poll.

It is the 22nd consecutive week (dating to last season) that the Wildcats have been ranked in the top 10 in that poll. The preseason AP Top 25 poll will be released Oct. 31.

Arizona, in Year 6 with Sean Miller as its coach, was ranked No. 5 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll last year and never slipped lower than that spot. The Wildcats finished No. 5 in the final poll after the NCAA tournament concluded in early April.

The Wildcats were No. 6 in the preseason and first-week (Nov. 11) AP Top 25 poll last season. That turned out to be their lowest ranking of the season. They finished No. 4 in the final AP poll on March 17.

Arizona has been ranked in the top 10 of both polls from start to finish in five different seasons.

In the AP poll, the Wildcats were an entirely top 10 team in 1990-91, 1997-98, 1999-2000, 2002-03 and 2013-14. In the USA Today poll, the top 10 seasons were 1991-92, 1997-98, 1999-2000, 2002-03 and 2013-14.

The closest Arizona was ranked in the top 10 from start to finish in consecutive seasons: 1990-91 and 1991-92 in the AP poll. The 1991-92 team was ranked No. 11 on Jan. 20, 1992, but was in the top 10 in all other weeks.

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ARIZONA ENTIRE SEASON IN TOP 10
Source: University of Arizona media guide

AP Top 25
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USA Today Coaches Poll
(debuted 1991-92)

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ARIZONA’S LONGEST STREAKS OF TOP 10 RANKING

Source: University of Arizona media guide

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Associated Press Top 25 poll
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USA Today Coaches Poll (debuted 1991-92)
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The longest the Wildcats have been ranked consecutively in the top 10 is 30 weeks in both polls extending from the end of the 2001-02 season to the first 10 weeks of the 2003-04 season.

In case you are wondering, the 1987-88 Final Four team that went 35-3 with Sean Elliott and Steve Kerr was ranked in the top 10 all but one week. After the Wildcats were ranked No. 17 in the preseason AP poll, they finished the last 16 weeks of the season ranked in the top 10.

In Elliott’s senior season the following year, Arizona dropped out of the top 10 (to No. 11 and No. 12) in three different weeks.

The USA Today coaches poll did not start until the 1991-92 season.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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