No one knows what might have happened if Arizona's Brandon Ashley didn't go down with a season-ending foot injury back on Feb. 1. Remember, the Wildcats were rolling, unbeaten and No. 1 in the land.
The Wildcats, who were the front-runners to cut down the nets in Texas, became just another Final Four contender. Ashley’s departure from the lineup took away a key offensive threat, and also eliminated what was the most formidable and powerful front line in the nation.
Arizona missed out on an opportunity, but Sean Miller and the Wildcats may have another next season. However, there are questions that need to be answered.
Aaron Gordon is a virtual lock to leave school after just one season in Tucson. He’ll be a top-10 pick in the NBA draft, and his toughness and defensive tenacity will be sorely missed and nearly impossible to replace.
Ashley told me shortly after the injury that he is almost certain to return to school. He was thinking long and hard about the NBA route prior to going down for the season, but he’s a second-rounder and should be back in the lineup next season.
The keys are Nick Johnson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and even Kaleb Tarczewski.