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Wildcats inch up to No. 15 in AP basketball poll

Sean Miller

Sean Miller was unhappy in the first half against Ball State, but happier in the second. Photo by Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona coach Sean Miller said recently there is no way the Wildcats are the nation’s 16th-best team, which is where they were ranked in the preseason media and coaches’ polls.

It’s a pretty safe bet that he doesn’t think Arizona is the 15th-best team, even after a 3-0 start to the season.

That’s where the Wildcats landed in this week’s AP poll after work-in-progress victories over Valparaiso, Duquesne and Ball State.

Arizona, however, dropped to 26 in the rankings of CBSSports.com writers Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish, who are combining their efforts to come up with a weekly Top 25 (and one).

They wrote: “We’ve dropped the Wildcats despite them being 3-0 because, honestly, they just haven’t looked that good. Our preseason ranking was based on Josiah Turner being great, but he’s been the opposite of that to date. Until he’s better, the Wildcats are just OK at best.”

There is a wide disparity of opinion of Arizona, which is as high as No. 6 (Scott Wolf of the L.A. Daily News) and not ranked at all by five AP voters. Check out the individual ballots at Pollspeak.com.

The return of Kevin Parrom helps, and Miller was especially pleased with his team’s effort and defense in the second half of Sunday’s 73-63 win over Ball State. He said he would have been “at peace” as a coach, even if the Cats’ second-half comeback had fallen short.

It also helped that Arizona had only three second-half turnovers after committing 10 in the first half.

“I told our guys in the locker room that I haven’t had a better feeling about a tam than the one I saw in the second half,” Miller said. “Our defense couldn’t have given a better effort, and the crowd was also a big help.”

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