Arizona preparing for Oregon schools

Arizona is set to face the Oregon schools this week. Read on for Sean Miller's thoughts on what they bring to both sides of the ball and more.

Arizona has an unusual schedule this week as it will face Oregon on Wednesday and Oregon State on Friday. Despite that, Miller does not see it playing much of a factor.

"The way the Pac-12 schedule is now and how it has been maybe the last couple years, it is not as traditional as it once was," Miller said. "When it was that traditional where it was always Thursday and Saturday, when it changed I think it was much harder on everybody.

"Now teams are playing at different times. If you remember, when we played Utah and Colorado, we left Corvallis very late on a Sunday night and got home almost at four in the morning. We played Thursday and Saturday whereas those two teams had played the Wednesday earlier. You get back in the routine quickly and I think the fact we are back home means the most."

Oregon and Oregon State are completely different when comparing offenses and that could be one of the challenges in a shorter week.

"For the second one it will be different because Oregon plays at a much faster tempo than Oregon State," Miller said. "If you think about it, they almost score 16 more points per game in our conference than Oregon State. Oregon State does it a different way.

"I say it all the time, one of the most difficult things to do is win a regular season conference championship in a league like the Pac-12 because of travel, the way things work and the dynamics of varying styles, overcoming foul trouble, injuries, all the things that happen over a nine week period of time.

"It is very intense, which is what makes it so magical when you enter March and have the chance to be a champion."

In addition to the difference in offensive tempo, there will likely be different defensive looks as well.

"Oregon State is traditionally a zone team and it is an aggressive zone," Miller said. "It is a zone that requires a lot of team work. You’re not necessarily in control of your offense as a coach as much as you're reliant on spacing and passing concepts.

"Against Oregon, they don’t play as much zone, but they have a similar philosophy in that they can really take you out of what your normally do by pressing, by denying, and then mixing in a matchup zone.

"Although one is a faster tempo than the other, the way you play against both teams, you really have to do it by relying on team work, ball movement, and guys sometimes just making the simple play."

Miller was extremely unhappy with Arizona's defensive performance in the last meeting against Oregon State and made some changed in order to help make sure that never happens again.

"We made some changes in our man to man defense to protect those situations," he said. "Having said that, there are only so many things you can scheme.

"It comes down to our players being able to defend the ball. Providing more help and not getting switched up maybe as much as we did before. Our big guys are better on big guys, our guards are better staying on guards. We have learned that about our team and I hope we are better protected this week."


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