Mar 16, 2023 - Sports

Arizona suffers epic upset against Princeton

University of Arizona basketball players look dejected as Princeton players celebrate nearby.

Arizona's Pelle Larsson (3) and Azuolas Tubelis (10) walk off the court as Princeton players celebrate following their win over the Wildcats at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, on Thursday. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

UofA suffered a historic upset in March Madness, falling to 15-seed Princeton on the first day of the NCAA tournament.

What happened: Princeton, a 16-point underdog, beat Arizona 59-55.

  • UofA led almost the entire game — Princeton didn't take its first lead until there were just 50 seconds left — and was up by as much as 12 points in the second half but never appeared in control.
  • Princeton ended the first half on a 8-0 run to narrow the Cats' lead to one point and went on a 9-0 run to end the game.
  • The Wildcats had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but missed a pair of 3-pointers on their last possession, forcing them to foul.

Between the lines: UofA was one of highest-scoring teams in college basketball this season, averaging 82.7 points per game on 49.58% shooting, ranking them fifth and fourth in the nation, respectively.

  • That offensive prowess certainly wasn't on display against the Tigers, who held the Cats to a season-low 55 points on 42.1% shooting.
  • The Cats went 3-16 from 3-point range.

Context: This is only the 11th time since the NCAA expanded the tournament to 64 teams that a 15-seed defeated a 2-seed in the first round, the most recent being Kentucky's loss to St. Peter's last year.

  • This isn't even the first time it's happened to UofA — Steve Nash's 15-seed Santa Clara beat Damon Stoudamire's Wildcats squad in the first round in 1993.
  • That makes UofA the only program with two first-round losses to a 15-seed.

Of note: UofA busted President Biden's bracket.

Jeremy's thought bubble: As a UofA fan, I've had my share of March Madness disappointment — who else is still scarred by that overtime loss to Illinois in the 2005 Elite Eight? — and I didn't expect the Cats to go to the Final Four this year, but this was a real gut punch.


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