Arizona coach Sean Miller knew there would be days like these. Or was that a daze like this?
Miller showed signs of frustration Tuesday – and continued his blunt, honest talk – about his team that is floundering at the .500 mark and easily flirting with not making a postseason tournament for the first time since 1984.
I’m not even sure if many in Tucson can spell NIT – having never had to really concern itself with it for so long (OK, maybe last year there was a good chance). But now, Miller said if UA doesn’t qualify for the NIT he wouldn’t even consider the 16-team College Basketball Invitational, a third-string postseason tournament now in its third season.
“When you look at the last couple of years with the NIT field, it’s mind-boggling,’’ Miller said.
He also clarified that “it will be difficult for us to make it.’’
Indeed. Arizona must at the very least split its final four regular-season games and win at least one of its Pac-10 Conference postseason games to get above .500 to be considered.
“That would be quite an honor for our team, knowing what we have and how far we’ve come and what we’ve done since October,’’ Miller said.
And, without trying to be funny – yet that’s how it came out – he said “it would be more important for us to start lifting weights’’ than participate in the CBI.
But that’s what this season has come to. Go ahead and admit it and say it slowly: THAT’S WHAT IT HAS COME TO.
Of course, UA could win the Pac-10 Conference postseason tournament and get in the NCAA tournament, but are you going to be bet that?
So right now, Miller will try to prepare his team for what could be a very difficult time this weekend in the Bay Area. Cal is first; Stanford is second.
And Miller is the first to say he doesn’t want to “act like it’s over’’ because UA has shown it wants to play hard and compete. But most recently, things just haven’t gone well. He admitted that the Oregon State loss may “have taken some wind out of our sails.’’
But, Miller did agree that his team still has “want’’ in it. And that’s a want to do well, want to get better and want to prove something. That’s a good sign.
But when asked what he thought the mood of the team was after Sunday’s loss to Arizona State, Miller quickly said he pretty much didn’t care about the team’s mood.
Sharp and biting. That was Miller on Tuesday. He has to be applauded for that. There’s no other way to get his point across.
He also knew back in April he’d have to deal with certain things when he decided to take the job.
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Miller is a big fan of Cal point guard Jerome Randle