Win gives Wildcats a confidence boost

Arizona is hoping that Saturday's win over Arizona State will help it get back on track. Read on to see how that can happen, how Nick Johnson is involved, and more.

After last week's sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles schools, Sean Miller and his players knew they had to get back on track.

The Wildcats took a step towards doing that this past weekend when it cruised by Arizona State in its last game of the regular season.

"We had gotten off the path with defense," Sean Miller said. "Arizona State has one of the best offenses in the country. If you look back at games like their UCLA game, they lost by one point.

"They had a few heartbreaking losses this season. They always play tough. I think today's margin was because of our defense. We had the stops and we kept the game moving at the rim."

The win will help generate some confidence within the team, but Miller says that having consistent confidence is something that all freshmen struggle with during the season.

"All the young guys have it and then lose it and work hard to get it back," he said. "It's our job as staff to help them get there. They are playing with confidence and that is what we are looking for in our players."

One player that seemed to have increased confidence was Nick Johnson, who was able to put together one of his best performances of the season after struggling a bit.

"Nick was the best player on the team today, possibly the best player out there," Miller said after the ASU game. "He knows that. He played like he has with us this season; if he's not energized it's not the same team.

"It's not just up to him; it's all of the guys. In LA, against UCLA, he had moments and he's gone back to that. He has been practicing really hard."

Kevin Parrom was blunt about what the presence of Johnson means for the Wildcats moving forward.

"We missed him out there and it was good to have him back," he said. "He's one of our best defenders, if not our best defender. He needs to continue that for us to go deep in the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments. It's good to have him back and hopefully he stays, because I want to get to the Final Four."

With the win, Arizona's attention will now turn to this week's Pac-12 tournament, as it will have a bye on the opening day.

"You always want to improve your seed," Solomon Hill said. "We've been to conference championship games in back-to-back years and we've come up short.

"It's good to get the bye. It's a big difference. We always want to win, whether it's the NCAA tournament or our conference tournament. We want to get to the conference championship and win it."


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