SAN DIEGO – The defense has almost always been there for the Arizona Wildcats this season.
But when the offense is on, watch out. Arizona shot 52.9 percent against Utah in the Pac-12 Tournament, and held the Utes to 25.5. Result: A 32-point UA win.
A day later, UA shot 46.8 percent against Colorado, while the Buffs shot just 29.4 percent -- and lost by 20.
On Sunday, UA allowed Gonzaga to actually shoot over 40 percent -- barely, at 40.7 -- but grabbed 15 steals and turned 21 Bulldog turnovers into 31 points.
"I think our defense is unbelievable and that's why we ended up winning," center Kaleb Tarczewski said.
However, Nick Johnson was asked if the Wildcats took offense to a label that the Wildcats struggle offensively.
"We don't take offense to that," he said. "We know we can shoot the ball and play good offense. ... (Lately) we've been playing our best offense and well as our defense."
Tarczewski’s night against fellow 7-footer Przemek Karnowski was difficult as expected.
Tarczewski had six points and five rebounds in 27 minutes while Karnowski had 14 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes.
“I’m definitely going to sleep well tonight,” Tarczewski said.
Tarczewski actually was probably able to sleep a lot better than some of the Arizona traveling party. Only 30 people were scheduled to be loaded on a crammed charter airplane home after the game – just players, coaches and essential staff – while most everyone else was forced to take an overnight bus home.
The Wildcats will have to return to Southern California in time for a mandatory public shootaround and media interviews Wednesday at the Honda Center.
There are two Millers coaching in the Sweet 16, and another Miller is probably responsible for it.
That would be John Miller, father of Archie and Sean, and a legendary former high school coach.
"We're both the product of a great family but also our dad being who he is, not only a great basketball coach, maybe one of the best ever at least in our opinion, but also a great dad," Sean Miller said. "It was that combination of so much time spent that you know he gave us an understanding of the game, a love of the game, and I think we're both probably coaches because of him."
A lot has happened to both San Diego State and Arizona since they met at Viejas Arena back on Nov. 14. Here's what Miller said about the Aztecs since then:
"They're better on offense and they're better on defense," Miller said. "I know they've shown a 1-3-1 (zone defense) ... and the emergence of Dwayne Polee, and I'm saying this as a spectator and I don't have a stat sheet in front of me, but to me he's emerged to give them additional firepower.
"I don't think there is a better guard in the country than Xavier Thames. We've played against him three times and three times ago he was really good. You watch the shots that he makes, he's that guard in March that everyone loves to have."
Here's the official box score. The transcripts of podium interviews were not posted as of early this morning.