Defense remains the story for Arizona

Arizona once again held an opponent under 30 percent shooting. Read on to see why defense remains the key to Arizona's success and more.

For the second game in a row, Arizona held its opponent to under 30 percent shooting from the field. It's nothing new, but defense continues to be the story for the Wildcats.

"The core tenets, there are no tricks to this," Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. "It's get back in transition. It's defend the ball. It's having a system to defend screens, same thing with the low post."

Against Colorado, there was an emphasis on the low post and it was effective, as the Buffs struggled in the paint.

"Today, for example, we trapped the low post really well," Miller said. "Then when a shot goes up, to not give them a second shot. Where it's hard is you've got to do it again, and you've just got to do it again. It takes high-character players, it takes a lot of talent, experience."

In addition, it certainly does not hurt that the Wildcats have plenty of talent to execute on the defensive side of the ball.

"Right now, I've been at Arizona for five years, so the language, the terminology, how we practice is instinctive," Miller said. "Guys like T.J. and Aaron, this is their first year. They have a lot to do with our defense.

"We have talent defensively. We have talent offensively, but if you just think about Aaron's blocked shot, T.J. came to us one of the great steal guys in college basketball. So the talent that we have plus the willingness and probably the fact that we were solid in what we do."

Miller has made Arizona to play strictly man-to-man defense and while there has been some criticism, he made his position clear on Friday.

"You know, people in the past would criticize a coach like me for not playing zone," Miller said. "Well, if you put all the eggs in one basket, you have a chance to be great. Sometimes when you try to play that secondary defense, you can never quite reach greatness with one thing.

"You just kind of bounce back and forth. That's why we play man-to-man. That's our philosophy, and we have these guys doing it right now for sure."


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