Arizona Wildcats basketball: Miller appreciates UCLA rivalry

2014-01-07T12:06:00Z 2014-01-08T13:55:32Z Arizona Wildcats basketball: Miller appreciates UCLA rivalryBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Sean Miller played in the Big East and spent all of his coaching career before Arizona east of the Mississippi, but said today he’d rank the UCLA-UA rivalry with the best in college basketball.

“Just as somebody who follows college basketball and has been a part of it, you get a feel for the incredible tradition and some unreal coaches,” Miller said on today’s Pac-12 teleconference call. “It’s always going to be a game of great meaning.

“I think it’s (comparable) to Duke and North Carolina, though those schools are obviously much closer together,” Miller said. “It’s like Syracuse and Georgetown when you had John Thompson and Jim Boeheim, like Florida and Kentucky with Billy Donovan and John Calipari. For UCLA and Arizona I would put it in the same context.”

Also on the media call, Miller said he thinks the new rules of emphasis intended to create freedom of movement are slipping back to the old standards.

“Some crews have called it tighter than others,” Miller said. “I’ve found it isn’t a whole lot different now. And I’ll just say I’m happy with that. We have a great game. It’s hard to change it.”

Miller added more praise for Kyle Anderson when asked about the Bruins’ versatile point forward.

“He’s more sure of himself, he’s stronger” than as a freshman, Miller said. “I can’t say this enough: you put all the great wing players in a category of guys who are going to have great NBA careers, all-Americans, you have to put Kyle in that group if you look statistically at what he is doing for UCLA. … He’s not only a unique player but his production is just astonishing.”

Despite all the heated talk these days about the USC-UCLA rivalry, USC coach Andy Enfield said it didn't feel any more difficult at Pauley Pavilion on Sunday than some a lot of tough road environments.

"The UCLA and USC rivalry has been around for decades but as soon as the ball is tipped, it's another basketball game and you have to play," Enfield said. "I think a lot of the hype of our rivalries is pregame but once the ball is tipped up you have to play."

Enfield said he could write a book on what fans have said at games, but was "oblivious" to anything that might have happened in the crowd Sunday.

"I was focused," he said. "I was trying to figure out what we could do."

SI's Kelli Anderson, who was on hand for UA's win over Washington, put Nick Johnson at No. 9 in SI's updated Wooden Watch.

Being away from home isn't all bad for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

NBCSports debates who should be in a BCS title game in college hoops if there were such a thing. 

Bovada has UA listed as an 11-2 favorite as of now to win the NCAA title.

Colorado's No. 15 ranking is its highest since Chauncey Billups played for the Buffs.

Cal needs to keep getting help from its bench.

Mitch McGary was ready for back surgery.

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Arizona 16 2 0 0.889 34 4 0 0.895
Utah 13 5 0 0.722 26 9 0 0.743
Oregon 12 5 0 0.706 25 10 0 0.714
UCLA 11 7 0 0.611 22 14 0 0.611
Arizona State 9 9 0 0.500 19 16 0 0.543
Stanford 9 9 0 0.500 23 13 0 0.639
Oregon State 8 10 0 0.444 16 14 0 0.533
Colorado 7 10 0 0.412 16 16 0 0.500
Washington State 7 11 0 0.389 13 18 0 0.419
California 6 11 0 0.353 17 15 0 0.531
Washington 5 13 0 0.278 16 15 0 0.516
USC 3 14 0 0.176 12 19 0 0.387

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Stanford at
Old Dominion
3/31 67-60
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