More than five years after leaving the UA for an NFL career, Earl Mitchell returns to campus...
Arizona to Face Duke in NCAA West Regional
The Arizona Wildcats, making their 14th Sweet 16 appearance, will play the Duke Blue Devils on Thursday, March 24, in Anaheim, Calif.
No. 5 seed Arizona (29-7, 14-4 Pac-10) is heading to Anaheim, Calif., to open play in the West Regional Semifinal against No. 1 seed Duke (32-4, 13-3 ACC) Thursday, March 24 at the Honda Center.
Not counting vacated appearances, this is the University of Arizona's 27th NCAA Tournament appearance overall; the program has a 45-25 (.643) record in its previous NCAA Tournament action.
This is the Wildcats' 14th Sweet 16 appearance, and eight have been when playing in the West Region. Twenty-eight of the UA's 45 NCAA Tournament victories have come while playing in the West.
The UA has been ranked for seven consecutive weeks and as of March 14 was No. 17 in the Associated Press and No. 15 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls. The UA's seven straight weeks in both national polls is the longest for a Pac-10 club in 2010-11.
Duke, the Atlantic Coast Conference postseason tournament champion, enters Thursday's game with a 32-4 record (13-3 ACC) following Sunday's 73-71 win over Michigan in Charlotte.
As a team, Duke shoots 47.2 percent from the field (1,013-of-2,148), including 37.4 percent (286-of-764) from three-point range, while averaging 81.0 points per game. Opponents shoot at a 40.1 percent clip and are averaging 63.9 points per game.
Three Blue Devil players average in double figures, led by Nolan Smith's 21.0 ppg figure. Mason Plumlee leads the team with an 8.4 rebounds per game average.
The game marks the eighth meeting of the two schools, with Duke holding a 4-3 advantage. The Blue Devils have won two straight meetings, with the last being an 82-72 triumph on April 2, 2001, in the national championship game in Minneapolis, Minn.
All-time, Arizona is 2-0 in series games played in Tucson, 0-1 in Durham, N.C., and 1-3 in neutral site games. The 2001 meeting is the only one to occur in NCAA Tournament play.
Last Sunday, in a game that featured four ties and two lead changes in the last three minutes, Arizona's Derrick Williams converted an and-one with nine seconds to go to give the UA the lead, then the Wildcat defense held on for the 70-69 win over fourth-seeded Texas in Tulsa, Okla.
Solomon Hill (16 pts./8 reb.) and Jordin Mayes (16 pts./4-of-4 3-pt. FG) gave the UA the offensive balance it needed in a game that it held the lead for 33:59, and the Cats hit 8-of-14 shots from three-point range in building as much as a 13-point cushion.
A win Thursday would move Arizona into Saturday's West Regional final against the San Diego State-Connecticut winner. The game time is TBA.