Miller not comfortable with position

Sean Miller met with the media this week and gave an update on Jordin Mayes, how his team is approaching the next few games, and more. Read on for the latest.

There may not be a better time of the year for a team to get a few days off then right before tournament season begins. That is unless you are trying to get as many wins as possible to help build a resume to get into the NCAA tournament.

That is where Arizona is at this point. Sitting at 21-9 (12-5), it is not enough to have fans and people in and around the program to feel comfortable about putting the Wildcats in the postseason tournament for all the marbles.

Sean Miller addressed the media on Thursday as Arizona only has one game this week coming up against rival Arizona State on Sunday. The game is a must-win for Arizona and Miller thinks his team is ready for the upcoming challenge.

"I think our guys are in a good place, we're healthy," said Miller. "Jordin Mayes really went through the entire practice from start to finish. This week is really a gift for him, a week without a game and an opportunity for us to see him and also an opportunity for him to see himself able to get up and down the court pain free. That is another benefit this week."

The news of Mayes getting stronger and more reps in practice is great news for Arizona and the hope is that he can come in and contribute once again and give the Wildcats a lift off of the bench.

"I don't know if he'll play the exact number of minutes as he did before," explained Miller. "Our team has changed and also I don't want to put him in a bad position, but I do think he'll be more ready to contribute as opposed to just getting him in the game.

"Our confidence and Jordin's confidence will grow as we move towards Sunday. I do think having him available and healthy and him being another player that we have for depth purposes is really a positive thing."

While it is still a rivalry, the Sun Devils have had a lot of rough treading throughout this season. At 9-20, (5-12), Arizona State has had little to look forward to this season. The previous matchup between the two went all Arizona's way as it cruised to a 68-51 victory in Tucson.

The coaching staff at Arizona knows what it is dealing with in Arizona State but wants to make sure the Wildcats are in the best position to succeed.

"We have been preparing for Arizona State, but we also have been focusing on staying sharp in what we do and continue to emphasize the things that we do well," said Miller. "You always have a fear of your defense this late in the year leaving you because intensity is really required and teams are in a very good place with their offensive system.

"Hopefully we're able to energize ourselves with two days off and also we're practicing hard, not practicing as long but we certainly want to come into this game full of energy and be well prepared."

It seems as though Arizona State has not had the opportunity to be consistent at all this season, but Arizona will expect it to be at full strength.

"They have had some many situations with players," Miller explained. "This past weekend, Carrick Felix, who I think has grown so much as a player for them as their second leading scorer, he didn't play all weekend. Trent Lockett, a lot like Jordin Mayes, missed several weeks.

"[Jordan] Bachynski has really improved. I think every coach that plays Arizona State worries about him. He's mobile, he's left handed, he's score more around the basket and in their last game against USC he was a big reason they won."

With Sunday being the last game of the season and Arizona being on the proverbial bubble, a win this weekend would not make Miller comfortable about the Wildcat's chances of getting into the NCAA tournament.

"We have to beat Arizona State, if we don't I don't think we have any merit," said Miller. "But I look at us having to win the conference tournament. That's our mindset. There are so many teams right now in the next 10-14 days that are going to play themselves in by winning three or four games.

"The more wins you have the better. For us, our goal is that first round bye[in conference tournament], go to Arizona State, win, and then really advance in the conference tournament as deep as we can and hope we can win it."


Wildcat Authority Top Stories