What they're saying: UA vs. SDSU

Nick Johnson

Arizona is set to face San Diego State on Thursday. Read on to see what different media outlets have to say about the game.

"You would expect No. 1 seeds to have a winning record against No. 4 seeds, but it might seem surprising to realize that in 35 seeded NCAA tournaments, creating 140 potential 1-versus-4 matchups in the Sweet 16, there have been only 19 instances in which the 4 has beaten the 1. Here's the bigger surprise: Over the past 22 NCAA tournaments (88 potential chances for a 4 to play a 1 in a regional semifinal), a 4 has beaten a 1 only 10 times.

"Wasn't parity supposed to be a much bigger part of college basketball?

"Here's the explanation for the above stats: 4s don't always meet 1s in the Sweet 16. Of those 140 potential meetings between 4s and 1s, only 55 have materialized. On 42 other occasions, a 5 seed played a 1. The other 43 remaining occasions? A 4 has played an 8 or 9. A 1 has played a 12 or 13. A few other odd combinations have emerged as well."

- Matt Zemek, Bloguin.com

"Aaron Gordon is ridiculous: Yes, the freshman is a highlight machine. In the first half of Sunday's win, he hit a 3-pointer and on his next possession, he caught a reverse alley-oop. It all seemed so easy for the 6-foot-9 forward. But those weren't necessarily his most impressive feats. Those came on defense. How many 6-foot-9 forwards can guard a point guard like Kevin Pangos?

"Well, Gordon (18 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals) did that on multiple possessions. Gordon's versatility has been vital in Arizona's run to the Sweet 16. The program's future was somewhat cloudy after it lost Brandon Ashley for the season due to a foot injury he sustained in early February. Gordon, however, has given the Wildcats an extra push. He's a special player."

- Myron Medcalf, ESPN.com

"On Thursday in Anaheim, the Wildcats face a San Diego State team it previously beat back on Nov. 14, a 69-60 Arizona road win. The game was so long ago it will likely have very little bearing on this one, though it's worth noting that Johnson and Co. held Aztecs star Xavier Thames to 19 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Also, the Wildcats clearly fed off the energy of a heavily partisan crowd here in San Diego and an even larger Tucson contingent is expected in Anaheim."

- Stewart Mandel, SI.com

"Sean Miller's reinvention of the Wildcats subsequent to the Brandon Ashley injury ranks among the most impressive coaching performances of the season, though it probably won't get its full due unless/until they reach the Final Four. Then everyone will take full notice of the fact Miller was resourceful enough to go from a three-big alignment with Ashley to a three-guard alignment with Gabe York joining T.J. McConnell and Nick Johnson. The Wildcats have been mostly destructive since."

- Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News

"They both sting, but the one in Hawaii kind of hurt the most because we thought we for sure had that game won, and then Nick Johnson just came out of nowhere and blocked the shot. But it's always a good game when we play against Arizona the last few years, so I'm sure it's going to be another great one."

- Xavier Thames, San Diego State Guard

"Polee didn't play in the first game because someone didn't put him in the game — me. I don't know how he would have played, but I wish I had at least given him a chance to play in the first game. It was me. It was a coach's decision. You know, through the course of a season you have a rotation, and sometimes it never changes, and sometimes it does change. With us it changed. Dwayne went from ninth or 10th man on the pecking order to our sixth starter."

- Steve Fisher, SDSU Head Coach

"Look, making the Sweet 16 is not easy. In fact, it's an accomplishment. Still, the Wildcats have walked into the tournament's second weekend. Arizona has struggled at times, but, overall, Sean Miller's team has made it look easy.

"As Johnson goes, so go the Wildcats. The Naismith Award finalist has 35 points in the tournament thus far, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range, and has helped fuel a defensive effort that forced Gonzaga into 21 turnovers Sunday night. San Diego State will have its hands full with Johnson."

- Evan Hilbert, CBS Sports

"Even so, the Wildcats look too strong. And when you consider that there will be thousands of Arizona fans flooding the Honda Center – giving their team an advantage absent the first time these two teams met, it just doesn't look promising.

"Hey, I'd love to be wrong about this. It's been more than half a century since San Diego has won a major championship and these Aztecs are as an endearing a team as you can find. It's just gonna be tough.

"There are nine Division I schools nicknamed the Wildcats, but this one right here is a whole different animal."

- Matt Calkins, U-T San Diego

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