Sean Miller said in an Arizona statement today that he was not condoning a fight when he speaking of the Xavier-Cincinnati brawl Saturday.
"These remarks were in response to a question as to whether I have been following Xavier's on-the-court successes this season," Miller said in the statement. "My comments were directed toward my admiration of their on-the-court toughness and their respective approach to giving great effort as a team.
"In no way was I condoning a fight. At the time of my press conference, I was only responding to my belief in several players that I once coached and a head coach, Chris Mack, that I have great respect for."
I had an earlier post detailing how Miller was stating support for his former team. Here's the full context of how Miller's comments came up, during his postgame news conference Saturday after UA beat Clemson:
First, Greg Hansen asked Miller if he has had time to stop and appreciate what Xavier is doing.
Miller's response: "Yeah, it's incredible. I think they can win the national championship. Chris Mack is a great friend, somebody who worked with me close at Xavier. They have the balance of upperclassmen that played on a Sweet 16 team in my last year -- Terrell Holloway, Kenny Frease, Mark Lyons sat out (that season). So they're old. And then he's done a great job of infusing that experience with renewed talent.
"They're deep, they're tough, they don't back down. If Cincinnati tries to do what they did today, they're going to get a fight. That's what happened. So I'm proud of those guys."
Later in the postgame news conference, I asked Miller if he had a chance to see the fight (he said he did) and if he was not surprised considering the heated nature of that rivalry.
Miller's response: "Happens every game. I'm proud of those guys, I really am. I would fully expect there to be a fight.
"You know every coach has his favorite programs and Dayton's certainly one of mine, so it's kind of awkward because Xavier and Dayton (where his brother, Archie, is head coach) are arch enemies. But I hope Xavier wins all their games except when they play Dayton -- I'm just not going to comment, I'll go away for that one. But they have a chance to win it all. It's just such a great story. I'm proud of all those guys and I watch them any time that I can. No one's going to bully those guys. I know that."
San Diego State's basketball team is headed to the Big West.