Just in case any of the Arizona Wildcats get a bit too full of themselves this week, coach Sean Miller has an ideal cure.
The rear-view mirror.
Before the Wildcats (12-9, 6-3) went on a four-game winning streak to catapult back into the Pac-10 and NCAA tournament hunts, half of their games were decided by single digits. Three went into overtime, including a home game against, of all teams, low-major Lipscomb.
Then there was that 30-point home-court "debacle" against BYU, as Miller has called it, on Dec. 28.
None of it was that long ago.
"Our team has gone through enough ups and downs, and recognizes how hard it is to win," Miller said. "Of our 20 games, I think 15 went down to the final moments. That experience should keep you grounded and humbled. We don't walk in the gym and overwhelm anybody."
Somehow, they managed to tie for first place entering the turn in Pac-10 play, and two major NCAA tournament projections already include Arizona. And there's a chance, with five of their remaining nine games at home, the Wildcats could actually win the Pac-10.
Miller's reaction: He said during a Pac-10 media teleconference call Tuesday that "all of that could leave us in a moment." Then he expounded on his just-keep-your-head-down-and-work philosophy during his weekly news conference Tuesday afternoon.
"We've never talked about winning the conference championship. We've never talked about what's going to happen in March," Miller said.
"What we've established in our locker room is … to be a team that doesn't cheat the process, that every day we practice we give our all."
Miller said it helps to have the experience and focus of guard Nic Wise for practices and games, but Wise indicated he doesn't have to give the same message again to the younger players.
"They get it," Wise said. "They know that Coach never talks about (the postseason), and he does that for a reason."
But if all that potential is taken care of, the Wildcats still have to figure out a way to beat Washington (14-7, 4-5) on its home floor Thursday. Only Oregon has so far, beating the Huskies 90-79 in Seattle on Jan. 2.
Washington is 14-1 at home, winning its past four home games by an average of 33.3 points, and the disparity between its home and road statistics is drastic. The Huskies average 21 more points and 11 more rebounds at home while going to the free-throw line an average of eight more times.
Miller said the difference is that the Huskies' high-powered offense is particularly helped by Washington's rowdy home crowds.
"They feed off the crowd, really create turnovers and pressure the other team with man-to-man defense," Miller said. "That generally leads them to more transition points. They're very aggressive on the offensive glass. They have such an attacking style."
The mother of UA recruiting target Josh Selby said Tuesday that nothing has changed from her family's perspective after the Wildcats accepted a commitment from Westchester (Calif.) guard Jordin Mayes on Monday.
Mayes is a combination guard who is expected to play at the point, and Selby is a point guard with scoring ability. However, Selby is a top 10-rated player while Mayes is just outside the top 100.
"We've still got visits to make, and we won't make the decision until after then," said Selby's mother, Maeshon Witherspoon. "Arizona is the question: How many scholarships do they have left?"
The Wildcats have only one remaining scholarship on paper for next season, and they are likely to use it on a big man. But Selby and fellow UA guard target Doron Lamb are both highly thought of enough that either would likely be accepted should he commit.
Lamb's father, Calvin, said Tuesday he has not spoken to his son, a guard at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy and was not sure if anything changed.
On StarNet: Follow the Cats down the stretch of the Pac-10 season with Bruce Pascoe's blog go.azstarnet.com/pascoe
• What: Arizona at Washington
• When: 8:30 p.m., Thursday
• TV: FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM