With a Los Angeles road swing this week that could determine the Pac-12 race, the Arizona Wildcats have plenty reason for focus when they head to the airport this afternoon.
But that alone won’t be enough to ease UA coach Sean Miller’s concerns.
With a team that he says lacks the “offensive firepower” to win consistently, the Wildcats must have an all-out, all-the-time defensive mentality.
Not just wait for a couple of big games. Nor allow anybody to shoot better than 50 percent in the second half, as Washington State, Colorado and California have all done in recent games.
“When you talk about going to L.A. and playing teams like USC and UCLA, you don’t all of a sudden get on an airplane and say ‘OK, we’re going to do it,’” Miller said. “It’s either part of your makeup or it isn’t. When you pick and choose in a game, that really sets the tone how you’re going to be once get to these games in L.A.”
Miller said the only thing UA can do is continue to discuss what happened Saturday against Washington State, when the Cougars shot 52.2 percent from the field in the second half while making the Wildcats’ 73-56 win closer than it might have been.
It’s “the word ‘endure’ — where you can’t be good for half of the game or most of the game,” Miller said. “That takes exceptional effort and concentration.
“What we’re after is significant. But if we do it, and we’ve shown we can, that’s when I feel we have a chance to compete for something extraordinary.”
Read more in Tuesday's Arizona Daily Star.