Arizona coach Sean Miller thought his team would be better by February; it’s not happeningby Steve Rivera on Feb. 21, 2010, under Sports
Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller thought by now these problems would be over with: silly turnovers, bad defense, mental mistakes and everything else that has a team losing two in a row and four of five. And two of the four at home no less.
After all, Miller had long thought his young – but talented – bunch would turn into something to be somewhat proud of by the month of February. Instead, the month of love has brought on nothing but another L word (losing).
“Our margin for error when we were 6-3 (in the Pac-10) was razor thin and I think we’re seeing the other side of that razor thin margin for error in some of our recent losses and performances,’’ Miller said after Arizona State came down to McKale Center and win, 73-69.
The one good thing is at least UA played hard on Sunday. Or at least more respectable than last week’s debacle of a loss to Oregon State. Arizona is now in fifth place in the Pac-10. Just two weeks ago, the Cats – and their faithful fans – had hope of a surprise conference title.
Unlike last week, Miller was pleased with the effort, although it wasn’t quite a winning one. He was, however, not pleased that some mistakes are still occurring.
“Some of the mistakes we made they made us pay,’’ Miller said, talking specifically about his team’s defense. He used one example of why in the world would his team double team Eric Boatang and leave Ty Abbott alone for a possible 3-pointer. UA did.
The result? Arizona State hit 11 of 20 3-pointers. Ty Abbott hit 5 of 8 treys, finishing for 28 points. He was 11 for 17 from the floor overall.
Miller has talked –although not all the time – about his team being young, but started to say that by February his young would get it by now. That said he doesn’t consider them young anymore. And that’s why he’s a bit peeved about the mistakes.
“We’ve been through it so many times so those mistakes shouldn’t be made,’’ Miller said.
Being young, however, can no longer be factored into the equation.
“Our team has to get better,’’ he said. “It’s mediocre. Are we fighting hard? Yup. I thought we had a good week of practice. (But) I don’t want it to be OK to lose.’’
So, he told his team after the defeat – UA is now 13-13 overall and 7-7 in the league – they will get back to work on Tuesday and prepare for the Bay Area schools in their 78th practice of the season. Maybe the road will be better than McKale Center. Remember this however: Miller & Co., couldn’t wait to get home to play and get refreshed. Soon the season will be over and the players will have plenty of time to get a second wind.
To reach Steve Rivera email him at Steve.Rivera95@gmail.com. Visit SteveRiveraventures.com.