Saturday's game against UConn obviously did not go the way that Arizona head coach Sean Miller wanted it to go, but he was still complimentary of all of those involved.
"Well, let me say two things, first, I give tremendous credit to UCONN," he said. "They are a tremendous basketball team.
"You don't have a feel of their great poise and how they control the game until you're playing against them. They're very big and physical around the basket and Jeremy Lamb and Napier probably don't get enough credit for complementing Kemba Walker like they do. They played with great poise.
In addition, Miller wanted everybody to keep what Arizona did this season in perspective.
"On our end it was an incredible atmosphere here today, and like I told the players, it wasn't too long ago we were 15-16 and to be where we were, a shot to go to the Final Four, 30-8, it will probably feel better in a few weeks than it does now," Miller said.
"But I've never been prouder of a team and I've never seen a team some so far as we did in a short period of time. The difference between winning and losing is so huge. I give UCONN credit and I feel really good about being a part of Arizona right now."
Miller had plenty of goals going into the game and some were met while others were not.
"One of the things that I really learned today coaching against UCONN for the first time is you can't underestimate their poise," Miller said. "Their coach, his timeouts, and he used quite a few to calm our crowd down, but the poise isn't just Kemba Walker, the poise is the entire UCONN team. Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb are both really good players and they're freshmen.
"For freshmen at this stage to hold their poise with what was at stake is a tremendous complement and credit to them. That's why they're in the Final Four because it's not just Kemba Walker, it's the overall team effort and poise that UCONN has."
In terms of what Miller was concerned with before the game, he says he was aware of the Huskies' strength on the glass.
"We tried to do a couple of things," he said. "One, always very worried about UCONN's rebounding. If you would have told us that we would be 42-31 rebounding with 19 second shots I probably would say we would have won. Same thing guarding Kemba Walker. He's impossible to stop, but we didn't want to foul him and we didn't want to give him layups.
"We want to make the game hard and I look at the end here, seven for 17, 20 points, we did as good of a job I think as you can unless he personally has a bad night, which good luck on that one.
While Walker was solid, an argument could be made that Jeremy Lamb was actually the player that hurt the Wildcats the most.
"The guy that we wanted to keep out of the secondary scoring was Jeremy Lamb," Miller said. "One of the things that UCONN has in their favor is he's elevated his play to not only be a really good freshman, but one of the best players in the tournament and his shots that he made mid to late second half, give credit where credit is due, he earned his basket, moved without the ball and when you have Kemba Walker with 20 and then Jeremy Lamb has 19, then I think that's when UCONN is at their best and credit Jeremy Lamb, he did a great job tonight."
Miller may be happy with Arizona's run this season, but feels that the best is yet to come.
"Well, I feel -- we all feel really, really proud of what we accomplished this season," Miller said. "When you can win 30 games, to me that's a number that's monumental in college basketball. We were here in this game and arguably a shot away from the Final Four, and that's the bar at Arizona.
"As the new coach, as the new staff you want to restore "order" so to speak and allow our program to experience the great success that we've had for decades under Coach Olson. This is a trampoline and a spring board, I hope, for future runs in this tournament. That's the goal. It's hard to do, but this season and in the things that we accomplished no question will feed toward us being able to do that in the future."
"I do believe that we can bring even more talented teams, more experienced teams than the one we have right now to this tournament, and that's the quest, that's the goal."
When talking about the team, Miller was quick to point out where the program was just one year ago.
"I love our team and players," he said. "What they did this year was exceptional not just because of what we accomplished, but keep in mind we weren't even in the tournament a year ago we were 16-15, and much closer to being 12-19 than 20 wins, so I think we all not right now are feeling good but are anxious to keep moving in a positive direction."
Miller shows perspective after loss
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