Sean Miller took over the Arizona Wildcats nearly two years ago, but the reality of coaching in the West may not have hit home until this week.
Not long after his Wildcats beat California in triple overtime Saturday to take a 1 1/2-game lead in the Pac-10, reaching No. 15 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll, Miller said he spoke with two national media representatives who "did not even realize who we played the last game."
"And in my mind, it was one of the great games in this college basketball season," said Miller, adding every conference gets more attention than the Pac-10. "If you paid attention to Cal, they're as hot and playing as well as any team in the Pac-10. It was just a really big weekend."
Then, on Thursday, Miller learned that neither of his top-25 signees, Nick Johnson and Josiah Turner, were among the 24 players named to the prestigious McDonald's All-American game.
And one of those who did make it, Oak Hill's Quinn Cook, was a guy the UA backed away from after it secured Johnson and Turner, its two biggest backcourt priorities.
Two other McDonald's players, Dallas' LeBryan Nash and Detroit's Amir Williams, were also dropped from the UA's recruiting radar for various reasons.
Both recruiting analysts on Thursday's ESPNU announcement show had questions about Johnson's omission from the McDonald's roster, with Paul Biancardi saying via Twitter that Johnson was the biggest snub, and Dave Telep saying via a text to the Star that "Johnson should have been on it."
Miller said during his weekly news conference Wednesday that he was not sure if Turner or Johnson would be selected, but added: "If they don't make it, there's going to be some really unheralded guys play well at Arizona."
Unfortunately for Miller, they may continue to be unheralded for a while in college, at least if games like Cal-Arizona cannot be shown outside of regional broadcasts.
Arizona AD Greg Byrne said Thursday one of the biggest problems with the league's current television deal, which ends after next season, are restrictions around the league's protected windows.
"Some of the issues we've had involve clearance," Byrne said. "There's limited windows, and it's not uniform. You want to have as much nationwide coverage as possible."
As it is now, games not designated as national by Fox Sports Net must be played at other times in order to be shown anywhere, which is why the UA frequently has 6:30 p.m. home games on Thursday nights, which are outside of the national 8:30 p.m. window.
Those games designated as "national" are not always picked up by FSN affiliates outside the West, either.
Byrne said the Pac-10 is seeking a partner that will maximize exposure and consistency.
Adding a possible Pac-12 Network could also get more games on television, although it likely would result in initial distribution challenges until it is picked up throughout the country.
"We obviously want to improve our coverage as a conference when it comes to television," Byrne said, "because this is such a great league."
Still, says UA guard MoMo Jones, the Wildcats aren't being completely ignored - not at 20-4 overall and No. 15 in the country.
"I think everybody knows, whether they want to give us the respect that we deserve or not," Jones said. "When you're top 15 in the country, there's no way for people to get around not knowing that you're one of the best teams in the country."
• Turner Sports and CBS announced Thursday that all NCAA tournament games will be broadcast live in their entirety on CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV. However, Byrne said he hadn't been told how the first-weekend games at McKale Center might be affected.
• UA forward Derrick Williams finished fifth in an AnnArbor.com national media Player of the Year poll behind BYU's Jimmer Fredette, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Connecticut's Kemba Walker and Duke's Nolan Smith.
• What: Arizona at Arizona St.
• When: Sunday at 7 p.m.
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM