Miller unhappy with team's performance

Sean Miller met with the media on Tuesday and is still upset about the Oregon loss. Read on for his thoughts on how Arizona needs to get better, possible changes, and more.

Arizona's disappointing loss to Oregon on Saturday has not been forgotten by head coach Sean Miller, even if he started Tuesday's press conference on a more positive note.

"I think the one thing that I am very proud of with our team right now is that we have become a very good defensive team and I guess one of my biggest concerns is that we will lose that moving forward," Miller said. "As much as you establish that you can lose it very quickly.

"I think the biggest thing for us right now is continuing on that grind of believing that we need to be a better defensive team constantly trying to get stops and regardless of who we are playing or where the game is played, we can point to extraordinary effort and good defense."

As far as Miller is concerned, games can't be won on just defense and that is where Arizona's issues come into play.

"The story unfortunately for us is that we have become a team that is careless with the ball and when you play three guards and two forwards you would think that would be one of our team's strengths," he said. "It is actually one of our team's weaknesses. We just have a plethora of turnovers, not coming from one or two players but really across the board and you compound that by a team that has shot free throws very well, I think we are second overall in our conference through 18 games, but if you just look at our conference games we are probably one of the bottom third of the teams shooting free throws.

"We just leave a lot of points on the court. We don't shoot and we miss free throws and that puts a lot of pressure on our defense and puts a lot of pressure on our team's ability to win."

Miller says the coaching staff is working hard to make sure the team improves, but part of it is in the players' hands.

"As a coach there are always things you can control and things you can't," Miller said. "Confidence, but I think taking playing time away, continuing to reinforce it every day in practice, making the fact that when you turn the ball over we are going to stop practice and run.

"Just making that the biggest thing that is about our daily basis, whether it is on game day or before the game because it is tough to play a lineup as small as we play and be one of the worst teams in our conference at taking care of the ball. It's disheartening."

There has been consistency from Miller in terms of what expects from the Wildcats and he once again reiterated that it is time for his players to step up.

"I've never seen a player in the offseason that doesn't talk about wanting a bigger role," Miller said. "We have a lot of guys on this year's team that want a bigger role. Now you have to perform and I think that is one of our team's problems.

"We have to take care of it, whether you are a senior or a freshman. In particular if you have been through the wars there is a lot expected and I think just being responsible and taking care of the ball and double dribble is one of the things that I am going to cover today. You dribble it, you pick it up, you can't dribble it again and just making sure we are doing what we need to as coaches to put our guys in the best position possible."

Miller took somewhat of a sarcastic tone when asked about the altitude in Utah and Colorado, as he redirected the attention to how his team can improve.

"We can't catch the ball right now when the weather is warm, I can only imagine when the air is thin," Miller said. "You wonder if double dribble is going to happen or if guys are going to move their pivot foot because the air is thinner, I don't know. We're going to find out. We are going to try today and tomorrow emphasize taking care of the ball, going to the foul line with confidence, getting better at the things that we do and make sure that everybody is rock solid in what they do. Layups, we want to make them, we don't want to travel, we want to catch with two hands."

Attention even turned to the uniforms, as Miller says he will do whatever it takes to make sure the turnover numbers decrease.

"Identify that our jersey will be blue and we want to throw it to that blue jersey and not that white one and that will be both games," Miller said. "I know Colorado can wear gray sometimes, so I will make sure that our guys understand that gray and blue is different and we want to throw it to that blue team, because it is hard to have fun at doing anything in college basketball when your team is inept at taking care of the ball as we have become.

"Our kids don't like red, so you can imagine if they don't like red how much they would maybe throw it to the other team."


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