2022-23 record: 28-7, 14-6 in the Pac-12
Head coach: Tommy Lloyd
Tenure at Arizona: Third season
Career coaching record: 61-11
Home court: McKale Center
Projected starters: G Caleb Love, G Pelle Larsson, G Kylan Boswell, C Oumar Ballo, F Keshad Johnson
Projected bench: G Jaden Bradley, F Filip Borovicanin, G KJ Lewis, C Motiejus Krivas, F Henri Veesaar
Overview: The Wildcats’ starting lineup has changed markedly since last season. The transfer portal took Kerr Kriisa, eligibility ran out for Cedric Henderson Jr. and Courtney Ramey and the 76ers now have Azoulas Tubelis. Those four led Arizona to the Pac-12 title and a standout 28-7 season in head coach Tommy Lloyd’s second season.
To find his new go-to lineup, Lloyd first looked to his own guys, moving senior Pelle Larsson and sophomore Kylan Boswell, both guards, into the starting rotation from part- and full-time stints on the bench. Then he snagged veteran forward Keshad Johnson, a senior who played four seasons at San Diego State, whose experience on the court can presumably fill in gaps left by last season’s older players. To wrap up the starting five, Lloyd fished former North Carolina sharpshooter Caleb Love out of the transfer portal. Love’s 16.7 points per game was not enough to get the Tar Heels a spot in March Madness, but maybe it will do something on the other side of the country. It will certainly incite a fire for Duke fans, who are well acquainted with Love and probably pretty eager to keep him away from a win.
Team ceiling: It’s hard not to allow Arizona the chance to prove itself worthy of a national title, but with such a box-of-chocolates assortment of new players on the roster, it’s perhaps more reasonable to say that the Wildcats can’t be expected to go any farther than the Final Four. Ballo is excellent and Love brings a dangerous 3-point shot that will certainly give Arizona a chance in the last-ever Pac-12 Championship, but the team lost four of its five starters from last year and is starting essentially from scratch with a scramble of very different talents.
Team floor: A repeat of last year. Arizona went from winning the Pac-12 Championship to a first-round exit in the big dance against No. 15-seed Princeton. For an evergreen team like the Wildcats, a first-round fluke exit is about as bad as it can get. Arizona will likely not fall so short of its potential two years in a row, but Princeton proved it possible.
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Sophie Levenson is a Trinity sophomore and sports features editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.