Arizona Basketball

Ranking Arizona Wildcats’ top Sweet 16 victories

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With this being Day No. 16 in our countdown what better time to rank the top 5 Sweet 16 victories in UA hoops history starting with …

No. 5: Arizona defeats Iowa 99-79 in 1998. Lute Olson beats his former school behind a memorable performance by frontcourt players Sean Elliott, Anthony Cook and Tom Tolbert. The trio combined for 61 points on 26-of-43 shooting from the field.


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The video posted to the left by UA coach Sean Miller on his Twitter account is another goosebump-producing effort by the Arizona Wildcats video department.

The song by The Cinematic Orchestra commemorates the building of a home, appropriate with this being the 40th anniversary of McKale Center opening its doors in 1973. The videos of some of the heroics by UA players in the building will make you think about the past and the excitement for what is ahead.

Here are some of the lyrics:

There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust
This is a place where I don’t feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home.

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
Held on as tightly as you held onto me
Held on as tightly as you held onto me……

And I built a home
for you
for me


No. 4: Arizona defeats Oklahoma State 79-78 in 2005. Salim Stoudamire hit an off-balance jumper from the left side with 2.8 seconds left giving Arizona the thrilling victory. Arizona shot an incredible 65.9 percent from the field. Channing Frye (15 points and 10 rebounds) and Hassan Adams (19 points and 10 rebounds) had double-doubles.

No. 3: Arizona defeats Duke 93-77 in 2011. Derrick Williams has one of the best individual performances in UA history with a career-high 32 points and 13 rebounds. He made 11 of 17 shots from the field, including 5 of 6 from three-point range. The Wildcats dominated Duke 55-33 in the second half.

No. 2: Arizona defeats UNLV 114-109 in overtime in 1976. As good as Williams was against Duke, Herman Harris was better against UNLV and Jerry Tarkanian in this high-scoring classic before the shot clock and three-point line were instituted. Harris came an assist and rebound away from a triple-double. He tallied 31 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Arizona had three players with at least 10 rebounds — Phil Taylor (15), Bob Elliott (12) and Al Fleming (11).

No. 1: Arizona defeats Kansas 85-82 in 1997. This was not only the best Sweet 16 win it was the best win in the program’s history. The Wildcats went on to win the title over Kentucky, but what made this game more significant is the unlikelihood of the outcome. Kansas was No. 1 with a 34-1 record and Arizona, which had nine losses, finished fifth in the Pac-10. Kansas — a 10 1/2-point favorite — also featured future NBA players Jacque Vaughn, Paul Pierce, Raef LaFrentz and Scot Pollard.

“This was all about believing in ourselves because nobody else did,” Michael Dickerson told me after that game (I was the beat reporter for the Arizona Daily Star). “Nobody gave us a chance, even people in our own state. But I think that made us that much stronger. We shouldn’t be looking for respect. We should have that already.”

Countdown to Tip-off Blogs:

— Arizona Wildcats guard T.J. McConnell on Bob Cousy Award Watch List
— ASU’s Jahii Carson Arizona Wildcats’ top opposing player this season
Mike Bibby, Tedy Bruschi spend day with Arizona Wildcats
— Arizona Wildcats guard Jordin Mayes sets sight on successful senior season with 20-20 vision
— Unsung players wore No. 21 proudly for Arizona Wildcats
Jason Gardner’s No. 22 is retired but Coniel Norman and Ray Owes also wore number admirably for Arizona Wildcats
— Arizona Wildcats No. 23 players historic in different ways
— No. 24 in Arizona Wildcats history one for the statistical record books
Steeeeeeeeve Kerrrrrrrr!!!!
— A look at the greatest takeaways from Arizona Wildcats’ Red-Blue Scrimmage
— A look at past, future today with Arizona Wildcats’ Red-Blue Scrimmage
— Arizona Wildcats’ Aaron Gordon vying to become third freshman to win Pac-12 player of year
Ernie McCray did more than score for Arizona Wildcats
— Arizona Wildcats’ No. 31 not retired with Jason Terry’s name but should be
— No. 32 most storied jersey number in Arizona Wildcats history
— No. 33 in Arizona Wildcats history symbolic of hard work ethic, ideal role players
— Simon says: No. 34 special with two of Arizona Wildcats’ greatest wearing jersey number
— If Arizona Wildcats center Kaleb Tarczewski has field-goal percentage like Jud Buechler, UA will be fine
— Arizona Wildcats legend Sean Elliott scored career-high 36 points opposing Sean Miller
Nick Johnson looks to improve perimeter shooting, limit turnovers
Jordin Mayes hoping to return to shooting form earlier in Arizona Wildcats career
39 days and counting toward Arizona Wildcats’ season
Joe Skaisgir best Arizona Wildcats basketball player you’ve never heard of
Nick Johnson looks to improve FG percentage while Arizona Wildcats limit opponents
Chris Mills, A.J. Bramlett reached Arizona Wildcats stardom via different paths, roles
Jordan Hill climbed hill for notoriety while Ed Nymeyer lived up to hype with Arizona Wildcats
Fantastic Four who wore No. 44: Jersey special for Arizona Wildcats program
— Two of Arizona Wildcats’ best centers — Sean Rooks and Channing Fryedonned No. 45
— Arizona Wildcats great Ernie McCray reminisces about his record-setting 46-point performance
— Arizona Wildcats star recruit should not be compared to Blake Griffin
— Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller on fast track to Pac-12 success
Things you may not know about Arizona Wildcats point guard T.J. McConnell
— Arizona Wildcats will benefit from presence of Joseph Blair in practice
— Arizona Wildcats preparing for what could be memorable 2013-14 season publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and


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