Arizona may have won its opening game of the NCAA Tournament, but that doesn’t mean Sean Miller has to be happy with the performance.
“Today I thought our offense was efficient,” Miller said. “We were difficult for Texas Southern to stop. From an efficiency perspective, points, whatever you want to look at, we were very good.
“What we talked a lot about during the game and after the game is we came into this tournament as a great defensive team. We were not that today. Not that, you know, the roof's caving in on us, but I think the point that we made is this tournament is unforgiving.
“When you don't do the things that you do well, you're not in the tournament very long. So what I'm hoping is that we learned a few things we can move towards Saturday and be both the offensive team we were here today, but also the great defensive team which I think we've represented all season long.”
Miller was quick to give Texas Southern some of the credit for Arizona’s defensive struggles.
“We knew before we played them, especially their perimeter attack is high major in its approach,” he said. “They have guys that can play in about any program in the country. That's at the one, the two and the three.
“What Mike Davis and his staff do a really good job of is they play two three-point shooting big guys with those three. Part of our foul troubles tonight stemmed from we were playing against a team that's difficult to guard against the dribble. They're able to spread you out. Once their big guys hit a couple threes, that changes things as well.
“Believe me, credit where credit's due. Texas Southern is a difficult team to defend. That's why they were able to come into this tournament having won the games that they did.”
Still, Miller could not help but be disappointed with his team’s performance on the defensive side.
“You know your team as the coach,” he said. “There were quite a few breakdowns that we had tonight that we have to be better at moving forward. I told the guys afterwards, I don't want to be the coach gloom and doom.
“I recognize we're in the tournament. I know we won. I know we won by a big margin, but we have high hopes and high aspirations. In this tournament, you don't get a second chance.
“I know a couple games were played simultaneous to ours. Those teams wish they had a do-over, but there isn't one. The best team doesn't always win, it's the team that's best on that night or that day. What we can control are the things we know we're great at or good at. Our team defense is what carried us.
“For us to be in this tournament, all of a sudden not be great on defense, we won't be in it very long. That's what we talked about.”