After getting his 100th Arizona victory in just over four seasons on Monday, Sean Miller was asked to reflect on his program at this point.
You know, the top five recruiting classes, the No. 5 ranking, the Sweet 16s.
To him, it’s, well… on target.
Nothing more, nothing less.
“By the standards that we have here, I think we have both feet on the ground and we’re solid,” Miller said. “It’s about us being consistent from this point where you know what to expect. We’re about winning. We’re about excellence. We’re about winning championships. That’s the standard here. When you hold yourself to that standard, every day you do something matters and it’s not easy, it really isn’t.
“There’s so much parity in college basketball, that it’s not easy to stay on top or get to the top and that’s what we’re striving for, to be a true top 10 team.”
Arizona attracted 13,529 fans for Monday’s game, about 1,000 short of a sellout, and about 5,000 of them were gone before the final minutes.
But it was a 9 p.m. tipoff against a team that had an RPI of 300 last season. On a weeknight.
It could have been worse.
“I’d like to thank our fans for turning out for a 9 p.m start. That says a lot about them,” Miller said. “We recognize as players and coaches that it's not like this everywhere. I thought our crowd was outstanding. Hopefully it can be even bigger and better tomorrow.”
Of all the stats from Monday’s blowout, these jumped out at Miller the most: Five turnovers and a 55-24 rebounding advantage.
“I really don’t care who you play, especially in the month of November, if you can play a 40-minute game with five turnovers, that’s outstanding,” Miller said. “It represents our guard play but also that we have a team that’s really taking care of the ball.
“Obviously we’re physical and with our starting group in particular we have great size. That doesn’t always mean that it shows up but when you look at the difference in rebounding as well, that’s the only stat that’s really overwhelming.
"We did a really nice job of rebounding at San Diego State, and it was nice to carry into tonight’s game. Tomorrow’s a bigger test because Rhode Island plays really hard and they’re not going to just give us second shots. We’re going to have to earn them.”
The Wildcats fired up their transition game with good defense again, blocking eight shots and holding FDU to 31-percent shooting, and Miller was happy to see it.
“We want to keep getting out in transition,” Miller said. “I think that’s who we have to be. The more we can get out of transition, off our defense, the better off we can be for sure.
Miller didn’t play any of his starters more than 25 minutes and gave T.J. McConnell only 22. That kept McConnell rested for Rhode Island but kept big numbers off his stat sheet.
“He was on pace for a 13 or 14 assist night, which says a lot,” Miller said. “It seems to trickle down from him. When your point guard thinks that way and plays that way, it’s a lot easier for everyone else to be the same.”
Gabe York scored a career-high 20 points, hit 8 of 11 shots, including 4 of 6 three-pointers, which meant he pretty much blew away every career mark he had Monday.
But here’s the way he spoke about it.
“I think defensively I’ve surprised the coaches a little bit,” York said. “Defense is what I’ve been priding myself on and offense sort of has come easy to me. Defense is really the main thing I’m concerned about.”
Here's the official box score.