Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Dream Is Gone: Arizona Basketball Makes Sports Illustrated Cover

Posted By on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 5:00 PM

As a No. 1 seed, Arizona is considered one of the favorites to win the NCAA tournament (Bovada gives the Wildcats 9-to-1 odds, fourth-best in the field) and has the kind of lineup that can bring home another title.

But no amount of talent and not even the most favorable of draws can compensate for this:


That's one of six regional covers that Sports Illustrated has put out for its March Madness issue. The others are Florida, Michigan State, Syracuse and Wichita State for the men's tournament and Connecticut for the women's tourney.

If you're not already screaming at the screen and cursing the SI editorial board, that means you're probably not aware of the Sports Illustrated jinx. For what seems like forever, the presence of a player or a team on the cover has turned into a death sentence, as that individual or group has seen its good fortunes go down the toilet not long after.

It's not an exact science, but it's pretty darn close. Don't believe me? Then maybe I should refresh your memory with this:


That was the cover of SI's college football preview in 1994, when Arizona was coming off a Fiesta Bowl victory to end the '93 season and looked to be at the pinnacle of the program's success. The Wildcats began 5-0 then went into the crapper, finishing 8-4 following a loss to Utah in the now-defunct Hall of Fame Bowl, then didn't go to another bowl game until 1997.

The Wildcats open play at 11:10 a.m. Friday against Weber State, a game played in San Diego. Win that one and Arizona will face either Gonzaga or Oklahoma State on Sunday.

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