The Arizona Wildcats are making their first March Madness appearance in four years this week when they play as a No. 1 seed in the South Region.
The Wildcats are also appearing in the first NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since sports betting in Arizona began, giving bettors in the state a hometown favorite.
The 31-3 Wildcats enter the NCAA Tournament off a four-game ride through the 2022 Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, earning the school’s first conference title in four years.
They got there by rolling over UCLA, 84-78, in Saturday night’s championship game, outscoring the Bruins by 13 points in the second half to pull away.
Here’s a full breakdown of what the Wildcats face as the No. 1 seed in the South Region, and the No. 2 overall seed behind Gonzaga.
Wildcats Among NCAA Title Favorites
Across Arizona sportsbooks a theme emerges regarding Tommy Lloyd’s bunch — the Wildcats are a bona fide title contender.
Arizona finds itself with the second-best NCAA title odds on four sites, with BetMGM Arizona and Caesars Sportsbook Arizona having the best odds at +600.
The Wildcats also find themselves in the No. 2 spot on DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona and FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona with +650 title odds.
No odds have been posted on the Wildcats first round contest Friday (4:27 p.m., truTV), as Arizona awaits the winner of the Wright State-Bryant First Four game to determine which team it faces in San Diego.
How the Wildcats Have Fared As a 1 Seed
The 2022 tournament represents the first time in eight years and the seventh time overall Arizona has been a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Of their previous six trips to the Big Dance as a top seed, the Wildcats reached the Final Four once — losing to the Oklahoma Sooners, 86-78 in 1988.
Four of the Wildcats other five trips as a No. 1 seed ended in the Sweet 16 (1989) and Elite Eight (2014, 2003, 1998).
The team’s last time as a top seed in 2014 saw the Wildcats lose to Wisconsin in overtime 64-63 to cap off a 33-5 season.
Breaking Down the South Regional
The Wildcats are considered the top cat in the South Region, but there are plenty of other college basketball betting contenders on their side of the bracket.
With a win in the first round, Arizona would advance to play the winner of Friday’s Seton Hall-TCU game.
The Pirates are the 35th-ranked team on stats site KenPom.com, while TCU is ranked 38th. The Wildcats, for perspective, are No. 2 on KenPom.com.
Also in the Wildcats half of the bracket, No. 5 seed Houston faces UAB on Friday, along with No. 4 Illinois taking on No. 13-seeded Chattanooga.
The other half of the South Region features No. 2 Villanova and No. 3 Tennessee. Sixth-seed Colorado State and No. 7 Ohio State could also be darkhorses for a deep run.
For now, the Wildcats will look forward to Friday, the first of what they hope will be a long March Madness residency in search of their first national championship since 1997.