It was a dismal weekend for Arizona who dropped two games in Los Angeles and is now tied atop the conference standings with rival UCLA. The Wildcats wanted to get a sweep and lock up sole possession of the regular season Pac-10 title but were not focused in either game.
A win at Pauley Pavilion would have been difficult to do but the first hurdle was to still get a victory against former Arizona coach Kevin O'Neill and USC. Perhaps Arizona was caught looking ahead but Sean Miller addressed the media and said his team was not ready to go.
"I think this weekend was really two fold," explained Miller. "Number one, I don't want to take for granted or discredit USC or UCLA. I think that both, independent of each other, are playing their very best all season long. The fact that, that was their last home stand and whoever was going to go in there was going to have to play well. We didn't play well.
"The second part is that we really got away from what really makes us a really good team. We are not a team with a lot of margin for error. Throughout the season we have to give a great effort on defense, we are not a big team. And we have had one player play at a very high level in Derrick Williams that has helped us."
However, even Williams was not able to play to his high level and it led to the rest of the Wildcats not playing their best either. The frontcourts of both USC and UCLA did a good job of frustrating the star and not allowing him to do what he does best on the court.
Still, Arizona has a shot this weekend to take the conference crown, something that has not been done since the 04-05 season. The loss may turn out to be good, but Miller knows that the team must play better this weekend.
"We have to be ready to go," said Miller. "Taking care of the basketball, attacking their one-three-one zone with confidence, and making sure that regardless of who we play we have to be ready on our end."
One key to that will be to give more minutes to a player that has a lot to do with the success of the Wildcats this season. Kevin Parrom has been one of the best sixth men not only in the conference but in the nation and Miller says that he deserves to be on the court more.
"Regardless of who starts, we have to play Kevin more," said Miller. "I don't think he goes from about 20 minutes to 40, but playing him about 25 minutes is something he has earned."
It is back to a one game at a time mentality for Miller and the Wildcats but it is hard for everyone outside of the program to not get caught up in what this team has accomplished in only the second year with a new coaching staff.
Not only can Arizona capture a regular season title, but it has a chance to go undefeated at home which would be a great turnaround for a team that was learning how to win just a year ago. Miller understands that getting two wins this weekend would even be special for those who help fill up the seats each night.
"I think it would be special," explained Miller. "I looked at something this morning that the Pac-10 has been in existence for 35 years and only 25 teams have gone undefeated at home. You think about that and that is not a lot or even one per year. For us to have a chance to be that I think would say a lot about our crowd and the atmosphere we have at McKale and a great compliment to our team."
Miller disappointed but looking ahead
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