Miller breaks downs Ohio State

Sean Miller gave Ohio State plenty of compliments on Friday. Read on to see what he had to say about the Buckeyes.

Arizona and Ohio State played two years ago, but that doesn’t mean there are currently any similarities between the two teams.

“Well, I mean, they're entirely two different teams,” Sean Miller said. “Although there's some similarities in the way Ohio State may play this year, there's also some striking differences.

”I think Ohio State has a combination of both players that can shoot and drive the ball. We talked a lot about that throughout the year. Even in last year's final game against Wisconsin, they really put you in that position.

“We've just tried to better prepare our entire team regardless of the style, but in particular those three-point shooters who are front court players can really change the game.”

Arizona’s strength is in its defense and Miller is aware what kind of effort it will take on Saturday.

“I think statistically if you put us on paper, you're looking at a very good defensive team, anchored by our outstanding rebounding,” he said. “ Our quest is to stay in the tournament and advance.

“For us to do that, you know, it becomes more difficult to defend each opponent as you move forward. The only opponent that matters for us is Ohio State right now. They're an excellent offensive team, very well-coached, very organized.

“They have, in my estimation, one of the great players playing in college basketball in D'Angelo Russell. When the ball is in his hand, it's amazing how many good things happen for Ohio State. We're going to be faced with an immense challenge tomorrow like every team that's played them.”

Ohio State is likely to zone Arizona, but it is nothing that the Wildcats haven’t seen before.

“A lot of teams in our conference, especially UCLA towards the end of the year, and we played them twice, predominantly a zone team,” Miller said. “They press back to zone like Ohio State does. Oregon presses back to a matchup zone.

“We faced a lot of different teams who played zone, but no question, I know that defense against VCU seemed to be effective. I'm certain they'll at least show it or play it for a portion of the game against us.”

In addition, the Wildcats have to be careful of Ohio State’s deception on that side of the ball.

“We have to be patient,” Miller said. “Like everything with Ohio State in terms of their defense, they're very deceptive in how they turn their opponent over. It always seems like it's a key steal or a key turnover that ignites them or turns the game.

“I thought one of the biggest plays in the VCU-Ohio State game was just a simple inbounds pass that went out of bounds, tied score late in the game. Those are possessions you can't get back.

“For us, I don't know how well we'll do in that area, but we're well aware of playing the game with few turnovers is really to your advantage because they're terrific at turning you over. Their guards, quick hands.

Shannon Scott has been doing it for his entire career. Russell, Sam Thompson, those guys are very quick, very athletic. They've been doing it other than D'Angelo for more than one season. We have to take care of the ball to beat them.”

As well as Ohio State defends, the key to winning will nearly always be containing Russell.

“One of the things that's so impressive about him is how he passes,” Miller said. “It’s hard to believe that he has so many games with five or more assists. When you put two on him, he's big, he's tall.

“He uses that size to see the court. He makes the simple play, makes his teammates better. He's the ultimate great player in that he not only does it statistically himself, but in so many cases he makes his other teammates better than they are because he gives the ball up. He's unselfish. He's really a special player.”

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