SALT LAKE CITY (KGUN9-TV) -
Arizona Basketball hasn't lost to an unranked team all season, and they're not worried about having that happen to them against North Dakota.
The Wildcats, the second seed in the West, play the Fighting Hawks, Thursday night, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Arizona is 30-4 and hasn't lost to an unranked team all season. Meanwhile, the Fighting Hawks are playing in their first NCAA Tournament.
"If you're identity is not to take anyone for granted and just to honor each day and work hard, you're not worried about getting upset," said guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright. "We know in March, anyone is capable of winning a game, so when we have that mindset, we can just go out and play hard."
North Dakota plays a fast-paced style of basketball and is at its best when it plays in high-scoring games. The Fighting Hawks average more than eighty points per game.
Guard Quinton Hooker averaged a team-high 19.1 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3, and 88 percent from the free-throw line. Geno Crandall, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, averages 15.6 points per game and shoots north of 50 percent from the field.
"They do it both on offense and on defense," said Arizona head coach. "They disrupt the entire team."
The Fighting Hawks are also putting the new Fighting Hawks logo on display. The moniker was rolled out this year after a three-year moratorium to let people cool off from a contentious battle over the now-retired Fighting Sioux nickname.
The Wildcats are coming off a Pac-12 Tournament win in which they defeated top ten teams UCLA and Oregon in Las Vegas. Allonzo Trier was named the Pac-12 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after averaging more than twenty points, and five rebounds per game.
This is the 6th time the Wildcats have been in Salt Lake City for the NCAA Tournament and the first since 2013. That's when Arizona defeated Belmont and Harvard to advance to the Sweet 16.
The winner of the Arizona versus North Dakota game will play the winner of VCU and St. Mary's.