Sean Miller went out of his way to compliment both USC and UCLA for their play last weekend.
But he also made it clear that much of the problem was in his own players’ heads, the kind of problem the Wildcats can’t have as the postseason nears.
“It’s a stark reminder for our basketball team that when we’re not doing the things on our end that make us a good basketball team, that we’re very vulnerable, especially at this time of year when there’s a lot at stake,” Miller said on today’s Pac-10 teleconference call. “I thought our team got on the plane a little bit fat and happy. I don’t want to say overconfident, but we hadn’t lost in over a month, we had won eight games in a row, every national media seems to have interviewed our players and I think we got away a little bit from what makes us a good team.
“USC and UCLA gave us the medicine that we deserved and hopefully learning from it (will help) return back to form of being that hungry team here on Thursday against Oregon State.”
Miller was concerned enough about his team’s mentality that he is not allowing any Wildcat players to attend today’s weekly interview session.
Miller may have earned the most laughs on today’s call when he was asked to talk about Jimmer Fredette.
Before the question was finished, Miller said: “I don’t have any answers,” and laughed himself.
Fredette had 49 points last season at McKale Center and 33 this season in Salt Lake City when Miller noted that BYU was “nice in taking him out” after 31 minutes.
“He reminds me of Mark Price,” Miller said. “Jimmer is as good at getting his own shot, not needing anything or anybody to help him, and to me that’s the hardest part. It’s not like he’s running off all these screens.
A lot of his points just stem form his own ability and creativity. He just has a way about him that it can mentally wear your team out. … He really is a special, special player. In our two games against him, he was as good as any individual player I’ve seen live.”
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson is now 3-0 against Miller’s Wildcats.
“When you play a team that’s so talented and athletic you have to be able to match the toughness quotient, the phys quotient that Arizona brings,” he said. “It’s going to be tough. When we come down there will be the added pressure of paying in McKale.”
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