Arizona is 1-2 in “white out” games after losing to UCLA last week, and that record may stay that way for a while.
When asked about how the Wildcats bounced back against USC on today’s Pac-12 teleconference call, UA coach Sean Miller started responding by noting that he wanted to end the “white out” trend that included losses to Washington last season and UCLA this season.
“It was a very difficult loss,” Miller said. “The white-out theme that we have, I think we’re going to retire it, put it in a package and let someone else do it. It hasn’t worked out very well for us the last two years.”
At his weekly McKale Center conference later today, Miller backed off his teleconference remarks somewhat, saying UA would "look at" whether to continue the white out. He also joked that maybe it's time for a "polka dot" or other effect in the crowd.
"We could potentially have the color of our opponent just to throw them off," Miller said jokingly, then added in seriousness: "It's just the disappointment that we had an incredible crowd and lost."
In Arizona's first white out game, in 2010-11, Derrick Williams and his broken finger blocked a last-second shot by Washington's Darnell Gant to preserve an 87-86 win. In the second white out last season, Tony Wroten blocked a late layup by Josiah Turner to preserve Washington's 69-67 win. This season, UCLA beat UA 84-73.
However, Miller said he was encouraged to see the way the Wildcats rebounded two days later in a blowout win over USC.
“We left the (UCLA) game with a lot of disappointment because we played some excellent basketball leading into that game, and a lot of times that disappointment can carry into your next game which happens so quickly in the pac 12,” Miller said. “But I thought the leadership on our team, how we approached it, we stuck together and if anything what we learned from Thursday was a opposed to (it being) a negative.
"As a coaching staff, you feel good because it’s hard to win every game and how you handle those losses, to me, really allows you to have a successful season.”
Miller has lost each of his previous three trips to Washington with the Wildcats, so it was not surprising that he praised the Huskies and their homecourt today even though Washington has lost three straight games.
“There are peaks and valley in every season and sometimes you catch a team that lacks confidence and isn’t playing well or sometimes you catch a team with confidence,” Miller said. “You could have made the argument that there was no better time to play us (Saturday) but bottom line we used (the UCLA loss) to play better.
“They have a talented team and I know anytime you play at their homecourt you’ll get a good team that’s ready to go. We know what we’re getting. Whether they’ve won or lost that’s irrelevant.”
Romar said the Huskies have turned it around before.
Joe Lunardi has UA as a No. 2 seed in his latest bracket projection but still on the Salt Lake/Los Angeles path toward the Final Four.
Dallin Bachynski is leaving the Utes, sort of, at least for a while.