They may not have had the most overall talent of Arizona's Final Four team, but the 1993-94 Wildcats surprised everybody but themselves by making it all the way to Charlotte.
They may not have had the most overall talent of Arizona's Final Four teams, but the 1993-94 Wildcats surprised everybody but themselves by making it all the way to Charlotte.
The questions surrounding this squad early in the season revolved around the missing 7-footers in the middle. After spending the previous few years "centering" his game plan around a couple of towers, Olson found himself with two of the best guards in the nation and a smaller frontline. Unfazed, the Cats steamrolled over teams, proving that size is often no match for quickness.
Arizona rolled into the season winning 12 of its first 13 games. The lone loss in that stretch would later be considered as the turning point of the season. Eighth-ranked Kentucky defeated the Cats, 93-92, on a buzzer-beating tip-in for the championship of the Maui Classic, but the game proved to the team that they could play with anybody in the nation.
They proved that a week later, capturing their eighth consecutive Fiesta Bowl Classic title with a 119-95 win over seventh-ranked Michigan. Khalid Reeves proved himself to be one of the best guards in tha nation, connecting on 23-of-25 attempts from the field and 10-of-11 from the line in the two games of the tournament.
Despite four league losses, the Cats managed to capture their second consecutive Pac-10 title and earned a No. 2 seed in the West region of the NCAA tournament, much to the chagrin of Wildcat fans everywhere. The Cats chased away any first-round ghosts, however, with easy victories over Loyola (Md.) (81-55) and Virginia (71-58) in the first two round that were built on sound defense. The Cats continued that defensive attitude in the next two rounds, holding Louisville to 37.3% in the Sweet Sixteen, while Damon Stoudamire led the team with 27 points and 11 rebounds in its win over top-seed Missouri to reach the Final Four.
Arkansas spoiled the school's second trip to the Final Four with a 91-82 win. Damon Stoudamire tied the game at halftime with a three-pointer at the buzzer and Arizona held a five-point lead with just over eight minutes remaining. But the Razorbacks wiped out that deficit with a 14-1 run over the next three minutes that sent the Cats home. Despite the loss, the Cats returned home with the satisfaction of having proved their doubters wrong and exceeding all expectations but their own.
1994 Final Four Team
Overall Record: 29-6
Pac-10 Record: 14-4
NCAA West Regional Champions