Ranking means UA gets opponent's best shot

Sean Miller is happy about Arizona's new ranking, but also knows it means Arizona will get the opponent's best shot. Read on for his thought on the ranking, what it means for the Wildcats, and more.

Sean Miller realizes that Arizona's number two ranking is the highest it has had since he arrived in Tucson. However, he also feels that the ranking will mean much more down the road than it does this early in the season.

"I would rather be ranked number two than not ranked or lower," Miller said. "If we're ranked number two in late February, I think it is much, much more meaningful. It's still very early on, but I do think we are off to a good start."

One guarantee that the ranking brings is the fact that opposing teams are now going to be gunning for Arizona even more than before.

"I think one thing it is going to say is that you are going to get every team's best shot," Miller said. "There isn't a team that is going to play us right now that isn't going to look at our game as something that would be very meaningful to their team and their season.

"Especially with the parity in this game that we have right now that being able to go on the road and beating Arizona in McKale Center would be one that I think every team in this country would covet having in their pocket as you move towards March."

In order to be able to counter that, Arizona must be able to perform at its best on a consistent basis.

"We have to be on guard and understand that every game is an important one for us, every game is a big one for us, and the higher you're ranked I think the more excited the opponent is to upset you or perform and try to prove they are also a very good team," Miller said. "The way we practice and being ready for each game to me has even more significance now."

In addition, Miller believes that players must be handle atmospheres similar to Madison Square Garden if they are going to be able to succeed at Arizona.

"I think one, we have four NIT championships now and I believe Duke has four," Miller said. "We've played Duke eight times as a program, we've won five times. If we truly are about a program of excellence, you have to expect to win.

"You have to handle playing in big games and by the way sometimes you win them, sometimes you lose them, but being able to leave that game behind. That was the seventh game of maybe a 36 or 37 game season. I think if we really are about what we say we are, we should be able to handle winning and losing against these types of teams, big games."

An issue that Miller does not see affecting the team is becoming overconfident and one stretch last season can be attributed to that.

"We have a number of players that were 12-0 last year," Miller said. "We were ranked number three in the nation and we were one of the last teams in the country to lose. We hit a rut in large part because I don't know if our team continued to practice and stay together like we did maybe early on.

"We struggled somewhat. I think we went through a month or six week period of time where there were a lot of teams better than us. We need to continue to stay together, team chemistry, practicing hard, knowing that it is a long season and we have a lot to accomplish."


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