Alabama Men vs Arizona

“We’re not a team this season that has the room for error to make up for those miscues,” said Arizona’s Sean Miller.

Three days after he blasted his team following Arizona's loss at Alabama, Sean Miller didn’t appear to feel much better about the game.

Maybe worse.

“What I would say is credit Alabama — they had a home game against us and were coming off a tough game themselves — they were ready and they did a great job,” Miller said Wednesday at his weekly news conference. “But by far out of the 10 games we’ve played, that was our worst performance, if we just grade ourselves. We didn’t have the wherewithal, the will, the energy, the discipline sometimes to be good enough on defense.”

Miller expressed particular disappointment with transition defense and defensive rebounding. The Wildcats allowed Alabama five offensive rebounds over the final 5:11 of Sunday’s game that led to 10 points — a dunk, 3-pointer and 5 of 6 free throws.

“Our transition defense has been, for early in the year, constant for us, but it really left us for most of the game and playing against a team like Alabama that has multiple guys in transition, you kind of feed into what they’re good at and that’s what they did.

“The big burst in the first half when they opened the game up by as many as 19 points, that stemmed from a lot of baskets they got before the defense was set up. At the end of the game our defensive rebounding left us, when we really needed to get a stop or one or two key defensive rebounds. When you don’t foul and get them to miss a shot but don’t rebound that’s really what breaks your back. And that’s really what happened.

“We had five of last seven possessions where they missed a shot against our defense and they got a second shot, that led to fouls, that led to and-ones, that led to a 3 point basket. That also happened to our team in Maui, that game broke open against Gonzaga and the reason the game got into double digits was they did the same thing. We’ve watched it, we’ve talked about it., sometimes the best reminder is a loss. There’s a lot to be learned about the Alabama game. Unfortunately, we took a loss in which either team could have won.”


The Wildcats took Monday off and then resumed practice while finishing up finals this week.

“It’s a very difficult week with time management,” Miller said. “You want guys to take care of themselves because they have the stress of the final exam and the final grade looming. Fifteen weeks are behind them and that’s it. We have to make sure each of our guys are sure of themselves and are taking care of things and have the time needed to be successful away from the court.”

Freshman Brandon Williams, the player UA chose to appear at Wednesday’s news conference, said not having to travel or play a second game this week helps. The Wildcats went to Hawaii, Connecticut and Alabama all within the past month.

“It helps us a lot,” Williams said. “We can reset, recover and we’re back at home Saturday and that’s going to be fun, knowing we don’t have to travel all the way to UConn or Alabama.”


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Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 or bpascoe@tucson.com. On Twitter @brucepascoe

Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball