Miller holds Wisconsin in high regard

Sean Miller talked at length about Wisconsin on Friday. Read on for his thoughts on the badgers, what make them so good, and more.

Almost as soon as the San Diego State game ended on Thursday night, attention turned to Wisconsin. Arizona head coach Sean Miller met with the media on Friday and talked about the Badgers at length.

"Well, the obvious statement is we're really excited to be here in the Elite Eight," Miller said. "After the game we played last night, not that we needed a reminder, but I think it is really is fresh in our minds of how difficult these games are, how hard you have to play, how so many times it comes down to individual players stepping up, making big plays, not just on offense, but on defense, and how rewarding it feels to advance in a tournament, but especially moving from the Sweet Sixteen to the Elite Eight.

"We know we're playing a great team in Wisconsin. I think all teams that are here in the tournament at this level have had great seasons, and there is a reason that they're here. We recognize that they're one of the best offensive teams in the country. Their ability to shoot the three point shot speaks for itself. Very disciplined team, both on offense and defense, extremely well coached by Bo Ryan, and it should be a great game. We're going to have to play on our end as well as we can to have the opportunity to advance."

One of the reasons why Wisconsin has been able to win games is because it does not make a lot of mistakes.

"Wisconsin, historically they can play the game, at five turnovers or fewer, always seem to be under 10," Miller said. "They don't beat themselves. You listen to these guys talk about the three point line. To me, the best part of Wisconsin's offense is their ability to shot fake. They get you up. That leads to drives. Drives lead to threes and fouls, and easy twos. As much as anything, the discipline of our defense staying down on fakes, staying down on shot fakes, not being so caught up in challenging the three point line that we give that up.

"But it's equal discipline on defense and offense. I think the other unbelievable stat for Wisconsin is they never foul, historically each year low turnovers. They foul the fewest of any team in the country sometimes, so they don't beat themselves. They're very disciplined. They really understand their culture, and I think their system. You hear Kaleb say we want to do what we do. Wisconsin is the same. They believe in their style and they do it well."

When Miller watches film on Wisconsin, there are a few players that stand out, one of which is center Frank Kaminsky.

"I think you have to start with Kaminsky because he's so unique," Miller said. "He's such a skilled player facing the basket as a center. He's not like a 6'7" undersized center. He's a 7 foot skilled center. First Team All-Big Ten player. No matter what team you watch him play against, he's a tough match up. He's going to be a tough match up for us tomorrow.

"I think for us, we can't lose our mind if he makes a couple threes. We can win the game and he could have a good game. Our objective isn't to shut him out. I think that would be asking too much. but you have to have a game plan in place to know that he's on the perimeter and he can really hurt you. He's in the low post and he can really hurt you.

"Obviously, you have to make him play defense as well. They have a lot of other very good players. Dekker is very athletic, very versatile at the forward. We've already talked about Jackson. Brust, I don't know if there is a better shooter that we've faced all year, but Kaminsky is that really hard match up."

Speaking of Traveon Jackson, Miller had high praise for him and believes he is the leader of the Badgers.

"Traevon, to me, in way he's kind of Wisconsin's heart and soul, just kind of watching him," Miller said. "He makes big shots. Any player that you start saying makes big shots, I think it says a lot about his own personal confidence. He's a physical, strong guy. I think that helps their team both on offense and on defense. He's kind of that prototypical Wisconsin point guard that wasn't as highly recruited, but develops, it seems like, each year that they're in the system.

"But they have a way of really growing under Coach Ryan's leadership. It seems they come in the door one person, and when they leave, they're among the best in the game or the best in the Big Ten. We certainly think that he's one of those types of point guards. We respect him a great deal."

The West Regional will be the only one that has the top two seeds playing against each other, but Miller does not take too much stock into that.

"I think in many ways the seed is thrown out in the tournament," he said. "I really felt that when we played Weber State. I watched more games of Weber State than maybe any team we played all year. The more I watched them the worse it got for me in terms of really looking and saying not only are they very well coached, they had two really good post players.

"They had Big Sky Player of the Year as a perimeter player. They had a number of players on the perimeter that could shoot threes, so you have to play well yourself. The more you get caught up in who you're playing, the worse it is.

"No question, we know Wisconsin is one of the teams a long time ago that established themselves as a team that could be a Final Four team and here they are. But for us, it's so much about doing the things that got us here in tomorrow's game and doing them as well as we have all year. If we do that, we'll have a chance. If we don't, they're disciplined. They're good, and the game is going to be a great game."

One possible factor that could be talked about is the quick turnaround from a physical game against San Diego State, but Miller was not buying that on Friday.

"Our guys have had quick turnarounds," he said. "If you watched our championship game in the Pac 12 tournament against UCLA, to me that was one of the great games of the season, high level of talent, lot of scoring, a fast paced, players on both teams making big plays. It wasn't as physical rebounding as last night's game, but I would put it in that category.

"Because of that, our guys are battle tested. They're used to it. They're young. I think all of them would say if you have a hard time getting up for this game to play for the Final Four, there is probably something wrong with you. I don't look at us as having any problem on a turnaround. We're healthy right now and looking forward to today and tomorrow."


Wildcat Authority Top Stories