Miller embraces ranking

Arizona head coach Sean Miller has no issues with discussing Arizona's number one ranking. Read on to see why that is, his thoughts on where the Wildcats are now, and more.

Arizona moved to the top of the coaches' and AP poll on Monday and instead of downplaying it, basketball coach Sean Miller chooses to embrace that fact.

"The fact that we are ranked number one in both polls I know doesn't win us anything and no one has to remind our team or myself that it's a long season and it is early in December, but I do think it is quite an honor to be ranked number one," Miller said.

"I think it says a lot about the respect that this year's team has earned and also I think it's a great compliment to our program, so we know it is quite an honor and I think we feel very good about it."

Although Arizona currently stands on top of the polls, Miller and the rest of the Wildcats realize that there is still improving to do.

"Embracing the fact that we're ranked number one is something that I'm doing, our staff is doing, and really our team is doing," Miller said. "It's an honor that I think a lot of teams would love to have. It's something that no matter what happens in our future, at one point this season we were ranked number one in the country.

"But, how long we keep that ranking, how that plays out down the road, how much better we get, those are things that in early December every coach and every team has in the forefront of their minds. Whether we are ranked number one or not ranked at all, at this time of year it is about growing and working because there is so much basketball in front of us."

Miller is not worried about the his team handles being number one, because it has already received numerous accolades at this point of the season.

"I know number one is significant, but we have been ranked all year," he said. "We went to New York City and winning that tournament kind of provided our team with those type of accolades. I feel like we have kind of gone through that or been dealing with it. This is a group that has been grounded and knows that we're trying to get better and we have to get better."

In addition, Miller believes that Arizona was able to find its identity against UNLV, which was a major reason for the win.

"I think our identity showed up in full circle Saturday," he said. "For me, it was beautiful in another sense because the reason why we won is that we really stayed true to the best parts of this year's team and that was that we out-rebounded them by a significant margin, we neutralized the nation's leading rebounder, and they scored 16 points in the second half.

"I left saying that if we can continue to get better on offense and some things that all teams are trying to get better at, great, but we have to continue to be dominant on the glass and on defense and keep in mind who we are as a team and that is something we are talking a lot about right now."

Speaking of UNLV, Miller's belief is that Arizona needs those type of close games in order to become the team he wants it to be.

"I look at some teams and I think that is probably why it is hard to get too excited about being ranked at this time of year," he said. "There are some teams right now that not only have they not played a tough game, they have not left the state they are in. The one thing I feel good about is that we have been on the road three times, played against three quality opponents and we are about ready to go for the fourth time this weekend.

"Playing a team like UNLV, I know they are not off to a good start; I would be surprised if they don't go on to have a very good season based off watching them on Saturday. I feel like we have played a competitive schedule and it helps define who we are and helps us improve."


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