Sean Miller hopes to see better things from his team this week. Photo by Chris Morrison, US-PRESSWIRE
Let me say this: Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller is as straight-forward as they come. He tells it like it is or how it should be.
Not once has he misled anyone about how good his team is or isn’t. Improvement is all he’s looking for. He hasn’t gotten it lately. He’ll tell you that. And on Wednesday, he spoke of his disappointment of Saturday’s humbling loss game against Brigham Young University.
Readiness and confidence just wasn’t there. The question is: will it continue?
Miller hopes not. He’ll see if it does against Northern Arizona in Thursday night’s game in the Annual Fiesta Bowl Classic. He does wish one thing, that there was more practicing on fundamentals than playing the games. His team needs it, despite its 8-2 record.
Of course, the 8-2 is fool’s gold (as he’d say). Arizona is not really that good, although it looks like it is with its lofty record. Realistically, who has Arizona beaten? Not anyone, really. It’s beaten the teams it was supposed to and has lost to the teams it should have lost to. So we move on.
Thursday should be a win against NAU; Sunday should be a loss at North Carolina State. It is what it is.
“The way to respond, especially in the month of December, is to get back to work and practice really hard,’’ Miller said. “It’s about being more prepared and more ready.’’
He feels that it will happen. But again, he hasn’t blown smoke to say this is a top x,y,z team. He knows better, in part because he’s seen what they look like. He’s played on those teams; he’s coached those teams.
He does say his team is better and deeper. “But we’re still a work in progress,’’ he said. “We’re missing pieces. We shot six air balls against BYU. We can go a season and not shoot six. The stage frightened us. The stage was too big and the lights too bright. Our fight wasn’t there. ‘’
But will it come back?
“The danger is putting our season on one performance,’’ Miller said. “It’s difficult for any team to be on every night. And we weren’t. But I hope we can learn and bounce back. But it steals your confidence when you don’t see guys catching the ball, shooting air balls and not being ready.’’
He hopes – eventually – his team will be ready for the grand stage. Someday. Soon.
Will it come? The Pac-10 is as big as it’ll get and that soon approaches too. So, we will see.