Arizona Wildcats at No. 7 in basketball pollsby Anthony Gimino on Feb. 04, 2013, under Arizona basketball
The Arizona Wildcats are seventh in the major basketball polls released Monday morning, creeping up a one spot after a sweep of the Washington road trip.
Arizona moved past Syracuse, which was ranked sixth last week before losing to Pitt on Saturday.
Just as importantly, the Cats are right back in the Pac-12 race after league-leading Oregon dropped a pair of road games last week. Arizona is tied with the Ducks at 7-2 at the halfway point of the league season.
“One thing that I think all coaches and players in our conference cherish is to be able to go on the road and leave with a sweep,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said during his postgame show on 1290-AM after the 79-65 win at Washington State on Saturday.
“If you are going to really have an opportunity to compete for the conference regular-season championship, you’re going to have to get a sweep, or maybe even two.”
Arizona’s high national rank, its RPI (fourth before the Washington sweep) and its place in the regular season conference standings not only add up to a high seed in the NCAA Tournament, but, if it all holds up, it virtually guarantees the Wildcats will stay close to home in the postseason.
The West regional final will be held in Los Angeles.
Arizona was ranked as high as fourth on six of the 65 AP ballots and as low as 12th.