Miller looking to avoid feeling of relief

Miller said he was anything but relieved after Thursday's win over Belmont. Read on to see why, his thoughts on the win, and more.

With all the talk of Arizona possibly falling victim to an upset on Saturday, it would not be a terrible thing for Sean Miller to feel a little bit of relief. Instead, he chose to feel anything but, as he feels that relief could get the Wildcats in trouble.

"It's definitely not relief," Miller said. "That's the thing you have to guard against. We have high expectations and when you're ranked from start to finish like we've been and sometimes you lose games, people on the outside can get down on you.

"Some of the best teams in Arizona's history got hot right now, and it's about being in this tournament, playing well coming into it. No sense of relief at all. I think just understanding how hard it is to advance for any of us. I think a lot of satisfaction and eagerness to get ready and play on Saturday because as monumental as it seems to be able to stay in the second round, going from the second round to a Sweet 16 is a whole new level. It's much more difficult."

One of the major reasons why Arizona was able to win on Thursday is because it played some of its most focused basketball of the season.

"I thought from our perspective our players locked in on what we were trying to do, played great defense, especially in the first half," he said. "As the game wore on we really got the ball inside, and as we got the ball inside a lot of good things followed.

"I guess the stat that is overwhelming when you look at it is our rebounding, 44-18, and I think that shows the effort level that we played with and whether it was defensive or offensive rebounding, taking advantage of our strengths versus Belmont. I'm proud of these guys. Thought they did a great job, and we're excited to be playing on Saturday."

After the game, Belmont coach Rick Byrd made the comment that Arizona looked different than it did on tape due to the fact that it appeared the Wildcats played harder on Thursday.

"I could see his point," Miller said. "You think, the one thing about our team that's deceptive is we're bigger and more physical than we get credit for. Kaleb Tarczewski has developed. He's not the same player in March as he once was, and we're physical on the wings with Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom.

"Those guys are in their senior year. Not only are they 6'6", but they are physically strong, Grant Jerrett and Brandon Ashley. We can come at you that maybe you can't see on TV until we're in person."

Despite the fact that many picked Arizona to lose, Miller says that it did not serve as extra motivation for the Wildcats.

"I don't blame people for picking Belmont," he said. "They have a great backcourt. They earned the seed that they got. You look at them on paper and they're scary. I don't know if anybody relishes seeing them in their bracket. But we were ready to play tonight, and we rebounded the ball and did the things we needed to do to win.

"But it's not extra. That's what makes the tournament so great. The guys on TV have to pick one thing. The other guy is offended. The team they pick is happy."

Now, attention will turn to Saturday's game and the belief that Arizona wants to make something special happen.

"For us, I'm just happy we have an opportunity to play on Saturday," he said. "The longer you stay in this tournament, the more you want to get back here year in, year out because it's so special for the players. It means the world to make it and when you start advancing it really becomes special. So we're going to get ready and hopefully play an even better game on our side on Saturday."


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