The Arizona Wildcats had their sights set on a Houston.
After a Sweet 16 loss in Tommy Lloyd’s first year, Arizona had set itself up for a deep tournament run. They were battle-tested, brought in savvy vets at key positions and had big men that could match up with anybody.
After a back-and-forth first half, the Wildcats had started to pull away. At the 11:46 mark, the Cats led the Tigers by 12. Then things went to a screeching halt.
And Princeton found ways to chip, chip and chip away. Arizona led for over 37 minutes in the game, but Princeton led when it mattered most, pulling out a 59-55 win over the second-seeded Wildcats.
Now, the Wildcats will look to retool after finishing second in the Pac-12 and winning the conference tournament. Transfers Courtney Ramey and Cedric Henderson Jr. will graduate. Some players will certainly determine whether to stay in Tucson or try the professional waters including Azoulas Tubelis, Kerr Kriisa and Oumar Ballo.
A full offseason for Kylan Boswell will pay massive dividends for him in his second year. Highly-touted freshman should see expanded roles including Dylan Anderson and Henri Veesaar.
No one has won more games in their first two years as a college coach than Tommy Lloyd, but the success in the tournament has not come…yet. The offseason will be an interesting one to see what the players, coaches and program as a whole learns from this loss.