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Arizona Wildcats sports figures have now claimed 16 Sports Illustrated covers, regionally and nationally, with the addition of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Stanley Johnson and Brandon Ashley shown on this week’s regional cover that asks the question: “Who can catch the Cats?”
The 31-0 Kentucky Wildcats, that is.
The images of Hollis-Jefferson, Johnson and Ashley are shown on the court below Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson.
Virginia, Duke, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa are also pictured in regional covers.
Arizona’s key to potential defeating Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, according to Sports Illustrated: “Roar on the boards”.
Arizona’s Wildcats, who have the size and athleticism to contend with Kentucky, rank second in the nation with a plus-8.7 rebound margin and first nationally in defensive rebound percentage at 77.4.
Arizona also received publicity from Sports Illustrated last month as one of the “Magic Eight” who will win the NCAA title.
SI’s Luke Winn writes of Arizona: “The Wildcats’ fatal flaw last season was a stagnating halfcourt offense. The freelancing and foul-drawing ability of freshman wing Stanley Johnson (and to a lesser degree, sophomore Rondae Hollis-Jefferson) has made that less of a problem, and it makes them a more attractive title pick than they were in ’13-14. They may not have the all-world defense they did with Aaron Gordon and Nick Johnson, but they can still guard as well as any team other than Kentucky or Virginia — and they’re currently the best defensive rebounding team in the nation.”
Ashley joins Rob Gronkowski, Tedy Bruschi and Luke Walton as Arizona athletes who are on multiple Sports Illustrated covers. Walton is on three while Bruschi and Ashley are shown on the cover twice. Ashley was on a regional cover in November as part of Sports Illustrated’s season preview.
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Sports Illustrated picks 8 teams that will win NCAA hoops title. Kentucky makes the list. Louisville does not. http://t.co/9lOGOAN8ap
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Stanley Johnson and Brandon Ashley are on this week’s regional cover of Sports Illustrated.