Sean Miller turned many of the questions during Monday’s news conference back toward the need for Arizona to stay focused and keep improving.
It wasn't hard to see why. Not only did the Wildcats have the potential distractions of finals and the upcoming Christmas break to deal with during two more games this month, but Miller also knew there was a downside to pulling out games the way Arizona did at Michigan.
Last season, the Wildcats cruised into the New Year undefeated after beating Florida and San Diego State in the final seconds, before they were shaken up during a January road loss at Oregon.
“We started to fall in love with finding a way to win, almost as if we were better than maybe we were,” Miller said. “What started to happen is as our season grew, you could see our weaknesses show up in conference play.
“One of the things we want to guard against this time around is we have to be smart on what we have to do better, what we’re doing well and be focused this period of time. That’s why I said that with it being finals week, being undefeated and having two games before Christmas break we have a lot of things pulling our team in different directions. And this is an important time for us to focus and make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.”
Even though Arizona had only nine turnovers at Michigan, and just three in the second half, Miller said he wanted the Wildcats to keep working on taking care of the ball.
“One of the things we have to continue to do is make sure from an offensive perspective that we really execute,” he said. “We’ve had some times this year where we really turn the ball over, not 20 times, but there … we have these types of turnovers that really take away from our performance.
It’s having “our players and our team really understanding how important it is to take what the defense gives, not force the action and look at the things what are the things that causing the turnovers for us.
“For example, how we feed Kaleb (Tarczewski). We have a really high turnover rate trying to throw the ball over the top. Sometimes it looks better than the result we’re getting, making sure when he throws that pass that he can get something with it.”
When Arizona tweeted that the Michigan game ball would go to football coach Rich Rodriguez, the sentiment was no joke.
“We’re all in this together here,” Miller said. “I haven’t been at a place where everybody’s on the same page like we are here at Arizona and all of us want each other do to well.
“When (baseball coach) Andy Lopez won a national championship couple of years ago, it’s great for all of us. With football, the momentum they have is great for everybody and I feel that same way that when we win, that we’re all pulling in the same direction. It makes life a lot easier when you have that type of cooperation.”
SI spotlighted Jahii Carson in this week's Wooden Watch.
Xavier Johnson is helping fill Colorado's rebounding void left by Andre Roberson.
One reason for Oregon's success: The Ducks know how to get to the line.'
Oregon has even more firepower now with Dominic Artis and Ben Carter back from a suspension.
Jeff Goodman's got a midseason transfer list going.