UA-Oral Roberts pregame: Miller, Wildcats battle Florida hangover

2012-12-18T13:10:00Z 2012-12-18T16:35:26Z UA-Oral Roberts pregame: Miller, Wildcats battle Florida hangoverBy Bruce Pascoe, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Sean Miller and the Wildcats may indeed be focused on Oral Roberts, but not all of their fans apparently are.

“Today we play Oral Roberts, and people are congratulating me still on the Florida game, as if no one recognizes that we have a game here tonight,” Miller said today on the Pac-12 teleconference call. “So this is a great challenge for our coaching staff and our team."

In one sense, Miller understands the enthusiasm. Saturday was a day for UA fans to remember, between the football team’s comeback win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl and the last-minute basketball win over then-fifth-ranked Florida.

“Obviously, it was a thrilling Saturday here in Tucson both with what our football program did the bowl game and that night with what we did. It was just an epic game against Florida,” Miller said. “And we were fortunate to win that obviously. So with that everybody says congratulations.”

Speaking before he held his pregame shootaround today, Miller said that the Wildcats had handled everything well. He spoke again about Oral Roberts’ record of beating a major conference team every year, its 27 wins last season, and the fact that Oral Roberts played Gonzaga closely in the game before UA was smacked by the Zags last season in Seattle. (Gonzaga beat ORU 67-61 at Spokane.)

“They had 14 days off and we’ve had two,” Miller said. “This has all the makings of if we’re not at our best we’re going to learn that lesson the everybody learns in the month of November and December, that parity exists more than ever and the difference between Oral Roberts and Arizona on a given night isn’t nearly as big as everybody sometimes will make it.

“We’re going to have to be ready and hopefully confidence is something we took from the Florida game and will that will help us tonight. We’re going to need it.”

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 Here's the official game notes from Arizona and from Oral Roberts. The Pac-12 release is here.

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Our coverage today: A main advance story on UA's efforts to focus tonight after Saturday's big win (Miller wasn't available for comment for that story but Nick Johnson was), and a scouting report.

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SI's Andy Glockner looked at Florida and Kenny Boynton after the Gators' loss to Arizona.

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UCLA's Ben Howland now wishes he wasn't so impatient pushing for a commitment from Larry Drew out of high school.

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Stanford gets a chance to carry the Pac-12 banner tonight in a big nonconference game at North Carolina State (7 p.m. ESPN2).

Other Pac-12 games tonight:

SMU at Utah, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12 Mountain only). The Salt Lake Tribune profiled SMU coach Larry Brown in advance of that game.

Long Beach State at UCLA 9 p.m. Pac-12 Networks

UCSB at California, 9 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12 Bay Area only)

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