The Pac-12 is one of four conferences that have three teams, including the Arizona Wildcats, headed to the Sweet 16.
Oregon and UCLA joined the Wildcats with victories over Rhode Island and Cincinnati, respectively, today.
USC came close to keeping its miracle run alive but lost 82-78 to Baylor.
The other conferences with three teams still dancing are the Big Ten (Purdue, Michigan and Wisconsin), SEC (Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina) and the Big 12 (Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia).
Two teams from the Big East — including Xavier, Arizona’s opponent Thursday — are alive. Butler is the other team.
The other Sweet 16 teams are from the West Coast Conference (Gonzaga) and ACC (only North Carolina standing after the conference started with nine teams).
Here is how Power 5 conferences stand after the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament:
|Big 12||7-3||.700||Kansas/Baylor/West Virginia|
This is the ninth time the Pac-12 has advanced three teams to the Sweet 16. The previous years that happened:
1997 — Four teams advanced including Arizona, California, Stanford and UCLA. The Wildcats won the national title that season.
1998 — Four teams advanced including Arizona, Stanford, UCLA and Washington. The Wildcats reached the Elite Eight before losing to Utah.
2001 — Four teams advanced including Arizona, Stanford, UCLA and USC. The Wildcats lost in the championship game to Duke.
2002 — Three teams advanced including Arizona, Oregon and UCLA. The Wildcats lost in the Sweet 16 to Oklahoma.
2007 — Three teams advanced including Oregon, UCLA and USC.
2008 — Three teams advanced including Stanford, UCLA and Washington State.
2014 — Three teams advanced including Arizona, Stanford and UCLA. The Wildcats reached the Elite Eight before losing to Wisconsin.
2015 — Three teams advanced including Arizona, UCLA and Utah. The Wildcats reached the Elite Eight before losing again to Wisconsin.
2017 — Three teams have advanced including Arizona, UCLA and Oregon. Results to be determined.
Interesting to note is that UCLA is the only team that has always advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in this scenario. The Bruins do not have a title in that span to show for it.
The good news for Arizona: In the seven previous times the Pac-12 showed its strength by placing at least three teams in the Sweet 16, the Wildcats advanced twice to the national title game and they reached the Elite Eight three times.
The forgettable news: The last three times this has happened Arizona has not advanced to the Final Four.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.